Hyperspectral imaging is the process by which image data is captured at many frequencies across the electromagnetic spectrum. Whereas the human eye see three colours - red, green and blue - hyperspectral imaging captures all the spatial and spectral data within the field of view of the imaging device. This new set of virtual eyes gives users a more complete view of any type of reflecting material than the human eye alone. It can be used to reveal information about both the materiality of objects (eg pigments, substrate, and binder) and hidden text or pictorial information in a museum, a library or a university collection. The Weston Library houses a hyperspectral imaging system, which is currently mostly used for revealing hidden texts and underdrawings. However it is also very useful for mapping colours and is increasingly useful for pigment identification.
We are extremely lucky to have periodic access to a Raman spectrometer from the University of Durham. This equipment is mainly used for absolute identification of pigments. The spectra give an unequivocal positive identification of a pigment which, when used in combination with hyperspectral data, can be an extremely powerful analytical tool. Due to the periodic and temporary availability of the Raman equipment it will be more difficult to allocate time for analysis so competition for its use will be higher.