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Microplastics Contamination Detection with Hyperspectral

January 15, 2021

A palm-sized hyperspectral camera in concert with a spectrometer gives a quick detection of black microplastics at a minimum cost.

Identification of black microplastics using long-wavelength infrared hyperspectral imaging with imaging-type two-dimensional Fourier spectroscopy

Microplastic pollution (MP) is a growing concern. Remedies are required to mitigate long-term harmful public health and environmental effects. Microplastics are plastic particles that have a diameter of less than 5 mm. Microplastics contaminate marine organisms, zooplankton, and fish and seafood, moving up the supply chain to human consumption ultimately. Different techniques ranging from visual sorting, FT-IR, or Raman spectroscopy can detect and separate these microcontaminants. However, low density black microplastics are hard to detect using these techniques. These plastics can be stained to be measured by fluorescence technique, but it is an expensive process. A multi-sensor approach is required. A palm-sized hyperspectral camera in concert with a spectrometer gives a quick detection of black microplastics at a minimum cost. Mainly, black plastics are composed of polystyrene, polypropylene, and polyethylene polymers. The microplastics are spectrally active in the 700 – 1250nm range. Microplastic identification is 6x faster with hyperspectral technology compared with other methods. Further advancements in optical sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio along with investigations into the spectral signature will help advance more accurate and rapid screening and sorting solutions.

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