Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New infrared technique aims to remotely detect dangerous materials

Date:
March 21, 2014
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
A new method to detect and describe potentially dangerous materials from a distance has been proposed in a new study. The approach directly separates the incoming signals to provide the material's unique signature for each pixel of the image. The resulting information is more akin to measuring the material with a spectrometer in a lab.

Statistics professor Candace Berrett (right) developed a new method to detect and describe materials in each pixel of an infrared photograph. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration funded the project through a grant awarded to BYU engineering professor Gustavious Williams (left).
Credit: Image courtesy of Brigham Young University

For most people, infrared technology calls to mind soldiers with night-vision goggles or energy audits that identify where heat escapes from homes during the winter season.

But for two Brigham Young University professors, infrared holds the potential to spot from afar whether a site is being used to make nuclear weapons.

Statistics professor Candace Berrett developed a model that precisely characterizes the material in each pixel of an image taken from a long-wave infrared camera. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration funded the project through a grant awarded to BYU engineering professor Gustavious Williams.

The government's long-term goal for infrared technology is to remotely detect the exact materials, chemicals and gases coming and going from factories or other sites suspected of illegal nuclear production. Berrett and Williams tested their new method of analyzing infrared images with more basic materials using data taken by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The results appear in a report published by the journal Technometrics.

Infrared cameras capture wavelengths of light that are not visible to the human eye. Hyper-spectral infrared cameras capture this light in hundreds of narrow bands. Since different materials reflect or absorb different bands of light, scientists can characterize the materials by analyzing the picture.

Identification of materials would be straightforward if those were the only signals bouncing back at the camera. But other incoming signals, such as the object's temperature and the weather conditions, muddle the analysis and add noise to the material's light signature.

The novelty of the BYU study is that it directly separates the incoming signals to provide the material's unique signature. Other methods deal with the noise by matching the combined signals in a database.

"What we wanted to know is if you didn't know anything about the material in an image, and we had a number of pictures over time, could we let the algorithms figure out what the different materials are and separate them out," Williams said.

The resulting information is more akin to measuring the material with a spectrometer in a lab. Berrett's model can also group together pixels that are related to each other to map out the various materials in an image.

"If we apply this model we can get distributions on the physical characteristics of each of these pixels and, using those different characterizations, also cluster the pixels with like materials," Berrett said.

As the technique develops, this could do much more than spot a bomb-making plant. Imagine taking an infrared picture from above a city struck by an earthquake or tornado. In addition to spotting all the gas leaks, it could reveal the exact gases being leaked and their concentrations in different neighborhoods.

"There are already instruments that can do this," Williams said. "Our algorithms take a different approach but are still at a basic research stage. There are lots of places this research could go."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Candace Berrett, Gustavious Paul Williams, Todd Moon, Jacob Gunther. A Bayesian Nonparametric Model for Temperature-Emissivity Separation of Long-wave Hyperspectral Images. Technometrics, 2014; 140108065130004 DOI: 10.1080/00401706.2013.869262

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "New infrared technique aims to remotely detect dangerous materials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321101742.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2014, March 21). New infrared technique aims to remotely detect dangerous materials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321101742.htm
Brigham Young University. "New infrared technique aims to remotely detect dangerous materials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140321101742.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins