/Applications/Hyperspectral cameras for forensics or counterfeit detection

Hyperspectral cameras for forensics or counterfeit detection

From visible to SWIR, and beyond

See what was meant to remain hidden with a hyperspectral camera that's compact and fast enough to effortlessly scan a whole crime scene or to detect counterfeiting.

Gathering evidence from a crime scene is a delicate balancing act. You want to be thorough. But investigative success often depends on swift action. So you also need to be quick. And those are qualities that tend to undermine each other.

Take the investigation of material evidence such as blood stains, gun powder residue or – for example in cases of hit-and-run offences – paint marks. To quickly visualize these patterns, traditional techniques often rely on the use of chemicals. But that can contaminate the evidence –reducing the reliability of the analysis.

What’s more, to obtain those samples, you risk damaging a crucial part of the forensic investigation. Because the exact size, shape and location of a stain or residue pattern can speak volumes about the way it came about.

And finally, that analysis requires you to send samples to a lab, after which it can take days to get the results.

A quick, accurate and non-destructive tool such as a hyperspectral forensics camera offers you valuable and immediate insights at the crime scene. In a field where every minute counts, that’s a powerful addition to your investigative arsenal.

The value of hyperspectral imaging to forensics

While a traditional forensic camera only captures information in three (visible) frequency bands, a hyperspectral camera can look at the very narrow spectral bands across a large spectrum  – extending into spectral regions that are invisible to humans, such as the near-infrared or the short-wave infrared.

Because different materials reflect different wavelengths, hyperspectral images make it easier to spot and identify the presence of certain substances, even when they’re not visible to the naked eye – like tiny amounts of blood, paint or gun powder.

But hyperspectral forensics cameras do more than visualize these substances. They also reveal information such as the relative ages of bloodstains, the composition of a paint mark or even, by increasing the contrasts, seemingly disappeared ink on a document.

All that with a technology that works in- as well as outdoor, requires no sample preparation and delivers immediate, on-the-spot results for analysis.

The value of hyperspectral imaging to counterfeit detection

Hyperspectral imaging can accurately detect banknotes that are counterfeit – for instance in automatic devices for retail and in vending machines.

And by using a hyperspectral camera, counterfeit pills can be identified before they can endanger the health of patients.

SNAPSCAN VNIR pharmaceutical

SNAPSCAN VNIR camera enables classification of various different pharmaceutical pills with similar colors but different chemical formulation.

The ideal forensics camera: imec’s SNAPSCAN VNIR mobile and SNAPSCAN SWIR

As a world-leading R&D hub in nano- and digital technology, imec bundles its hardware and software expertise  to develop hyperspectral cameras that combine the high spatial and spectral resolution of linescan cameras with the speed and convenience of snapshot cameras.

The SNAPSCAN VNIR mobile perfectly covers the needs of forensic researchers:

  • It covers the visual and near-infrared spectra, which enables the detection and analysis of materials and compounds such as blood, saliva, paints, ...
  • It’s powered by a battery or laptop and can be mounted on a tripod so you can easily move it across an indoor or outdoor scene.
  • It can be connected to a laptop through a USB-3 cable for immediate analysis of the results with the included software.

Get a taste of how it works: download our software and a reference datacube from the SNAPSCAN VNIR.


Imec’s SNAPSCAN VNIR mobile


To complement the SNAPSCAN VNIR mobile, the SNAPSCAN SWIR brings even more invisible information to light.

Want to build your custom hyperspectral forensics camera?

Imec’s knowhow on hyperspectral imaging covers the whole process from image sensors to systems. This means we can support every step of the development of your tailored hyperspectral camera.

Contact our business development team.