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Newsletter "SEI NEWS" 2013

Home > Company Information > SEI WORLD > Back number > Vol.424

[Newsletter "SEI NEWS" Vol.423]

Near-infrared Composition Imaging System “Compovision” ? A Pioneering Product for Sumitomo Electric’s New Business Line

The current five business units of the Sumitomo Electric Group are supported by a variety of its unsurpassed material technologies and information-telecommunication technologies (core technologies). The Sumitomo Electric Group has been working to create new businesses early by employing these core technologies.
This issue introduces the near-infrared composition imaging system “Compovision” that we have developed for a life science business by making optimal use of compound-semiconductor and optical communication technologies.

Near-infrared composition imaging system “Compovision”

Operating principles

“Compovision” is a composition imaging system consisting of a camera and hyper-spectral analysis/imaging software. The camera further comprises a spectroscope and a two-dimensional photo-sensitive element that can receive near-infrared light of 1.000 to 2.350 nm in wavelength.

“Compovision” can perform non-destructive/non-contact measurement of the composition, concentration distribution and other properties of substances on a real-time basis by irradiating them with near-infrared light.

In place of visual images, “Compovision” creates “hyper-spectra,” in which each pixel has spectral data. Analyzing the spectral data enables the identification of substances and analysis of their distribution in each pixel. Although infrared light is usually invisible, “Compovision” can create an image of the composition by assigning RGB parameters to particular wavelengths.

Feature 1  Non-destructive/non-invasive measurement

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR)*1 and other spectroscopic methods using infrared light have conventionally been used to analyze compositional differences and the concentration distributions of the composition. However, a problem with these methods is the difficulty of performing non-destructive measurements. “Compovision” utilizes near-infrared light that penetrates easily into living bodies and other organic matter, enabling this imaging system to perform non-destructive/non-invasive (no pretreatment required) measurements.


The test object is placed under the camera. No pretreatment of the object is required.


“Compovision” positioned above the PTP pack can discriminate tablets from each other even if they have the same shape and color.

※1Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy
A technique for measuring the properties of substances by irradiating them with infrared light and analyzing the spectra of either transmitted or reflected light. Using this technique, it is difficult to measure moisture-containing substances since water has a high absorption constant (other absorption spectra will become inconspicuous). Instead of moisture, some substances contain other components having an extremely high absorption constant. Such substances must be pretreated (e.g. slicing when in solid form or dilution when liquids) to obtain acceptable measurement results. This means that this technique is unsuitable for non-destructive measurement. In addition, this technique usually measures the properties of substances at a single point using a special detector. Therefore, scanning is essential for imaging their composition (making real-time measurement difficult).

Feature 2  Creation of composition image

The Sumitomo Electric Group has originally developed a fast spectrum analysis algorithm. This algorithm enables real-time determination of composition by analyzing the absorption spectrum of all image data acquired through a near-infrared camera, thereby imaging compositional differences and the concentration distributions of the composition.


Near-infrared camera

  Visible camera  

Wavelength differs depending on the substance being measured.

Feature 3  Broadband wavelength measurement

The Sumitomo Electric Group has newly developed in-house a near-infrared camera sensor material of quantum well structure*2. A camera comprising the new sensor material enables measurement over a wide wavelength range from 1.000 to 2.350 nm. Covering a wider wavelength range than conventional imaging systems, “Compovision” can detect the subtle compositional differences between water, fats, proteins and other substances with high sensitivity.

■Principal uses of “Compovision”

・Protein composition measurement
・Protein denaturation measurement
・Fatty acid measurement
・Moisture distribution measurement
・Foreign substance detection
・Amount of fat distribution measurement


[Analysis of beef composition] Two-dimensional imaging of subtle changes and differences *Joint research with Nakauchi Laboratory at Toyohashi University of Technology

※2Quantum well structure
A generic term for structures comprising alternating laminations of different types of nanometer-thick semiconductors. One nanometer is one billionth of a meter.

Feature 4  Measurement over a wide area

“Compovision” enables real-time measurement of substances placed in a wide area. This implies that this composition imaging system can be installed on a production line to perform 100% inspection of raw materials and products. The drug composition can be visualized through PTP pack.


Measuring over wide area


Product judgment image


Outlook for expansion and development of uses

Besides control/inspection of the quality of drugs and foods, “Compovision” is expected to be used for various other purposes too, such as for inspection of homogeneous mixing of creamy product components; monitoring of state change in the production process of fermented foods/beverages and biofuels; and observation of state changes of body composition.

■ [Typical example of use] Tester for intravascular diagnosis

Endoscope video system MVR-3000 (Photo courtesy of MACHIDA Endoscope Co., Ltd.)

MACHIDA Endoscope Co., Ltd. has recently developed a medical device named Endoscope Video System MVR-300 (manufacturing and marketing notification No. 13B1X00246K0019I; distributor: MACHIDA Endoscope Co., Ltd.).This endoscope comprises a “Compovision” camera and its light source.

The camera and light source used in this video system are switchable between visible light and near-infrared light observation.

The Sumitomo Electric Group will expand the use of “Compovision” in the field of health care.

Vascular endoscope catheter DAG 2218LN (Medical equipment authorization No. 21300BZZ00631000)

・“Compovision" is a trademark or registered trademark of Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.

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