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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001727/1
Title: A compact novel hyperspectral imager for more reliable and precise agriculture
Principal Investigator: Bourgenot, Dr C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Ecometrica Newcastle University Phase Photonics
Satellite Applications Catapult
Department: Physics
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 29 June 2018 Ends: 28 June 2021 Value (£): 458,839
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 7 - 10 and 11 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Projections suggest that, without further action, the availability of water for irrigation will become a serious limiting factor to agricultural production and quality, particularly for growing cereals and potatoes. Many of the most productive regions of Great Britain at present, such as Kent and the East Anglia fens, are also where projections of both soil aridity and water scarcity are severe [1]. The Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence report clearly specifies the need for a more coordinated action to achieve the ambitious reductions in water demand and to find solutions for future agriculture.



This research proposal is to address this particular issue by developing a novel concept of hyperspectral imager to remotely map the moisture content in crops and soil. At a time where scarcity of fresh water stocks is becoming an issue worldwide, the research will lead to an instrument offering precise feedback on the crop's water requirement and potential savings to farmers or communities. The proposed research will develop the next generation of space or airborne instrumentation for advanced sustainable agriculture, with a focus on strengthening resilience to environmental crises.

In the last decades, technological progress made in the field of Earth Observation instrumentation has revolutionised agriculture. Nowadays, hyperspectral technologies provide both valuable and essential information to modern agriculture by removing cost uncertainties from agricultural assets and by helping to prepare for and mitigate the effects of natural disasters. hyperspectral imaging techniques offer an accurate spatial and spectral snapshot of cultivated areas, helping in particular to monitor:

- water-stress, disease, insect attack, invasive species mapping and overall plant health

- seed sustainability, with remote measurement of the germination efficiency

hyperspectral instrumentation uses the spectral information in the image to reveal particular details about biology, mineralogy and chemical content, therefore providing valuable feedback regarding agriculture, earth science and environment.

Two novel instrumentation concepts will be developed and put together in this research to offer a step change in the hyperspectral capability, at the service of UK advanced sustainable agriculture. The first concept, capitalises on the use of an Integral Field Spectrometer integrating a slicer mirror (array of small thin slices of mirror) in a hyperspectral imager, and the second concept uses novel optical elements: Freeform gratings. Freeform surfaces are novel and revolutionary optical elements with no particular axis of rotation or symmetry. Traditionally, gratings are machined as flat or as lightly curved spherical surfaces because of limitations in the machining capability. Progress made in the field of ultra-precision machining can potentially enable the machining of complex, curved gratings to further improve the instrument compactness, image quality or modularity. Freeform optics are therefore promising components for space-based hyperspectral imagers for their ability to reduce the overall dimension, and therefore mass, of the satellite's payload, which is a critical parameter in space imaging systems.

[1] Committee on Climate Change, "Climate Change Risk Assessment evidence report - Synthesis report: priorities for the next five years." 2017.

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