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Headwall and Dr. Gregory Bearman Bring Hyperspectral Imaging to Cultural Heritage

Chemical Imaging Helps Unlock Secrets Behind Historical Artwork, Artifacts, and Documents

Fitchburg, MA - May 27, 2014 – Headwall has signed a consulting agreement with cultural heritage imaging professional Dr. Gregory Bearman to introduce hyperspectral imaging to historical preservation experts worldwide. Hyperspectral imaging technology will prove extremely useful since it is non-invasive and can provide information unobtainable by any other means.

“Our hyperspectral imaging systems cover the range from 380nm all the way up to 2500nm and beyond,” said Headwall CEO David Bannon. Imaging in the visible/near-infrared (VNIR, 380-1000nm) and especially the shortwave infrared (SWIR, 950-2500nm) spectral range (chemical imaging), preservation and conservation experts will be able to collect a vast array of chemical information with respect to pigments, substrates, materials, and unseen features.” Imaging, as compared to widely available point methods, provides the ability to examine larger areas and heterogeneous objects,” said Dr. Bearman.  

“Information about ancient documents, artifacts, and paintings not only broadens our overall historical knowledge, but also helps preservation experts carry out their valuable work,” said Bannon.  Quantitative imaging in the VNIR and SWIR can provide a way to measure and monitor changes in cultural heritage objects over time, a constant struggle for conservators. Such approaches are applicable not just to objects such as art and texts but also to historical buildings and sites, archeological excavations and built heritage in general.

Dr Bearman Imaging Frescoe ItalyDr. Bearman’s experience applying hyperspectral imaging within the field of cultural and historical preservation is unequalled.  He was a pioneer in applying modern imaging to cultural heritage, as the first to build a compact, simple to use imaging system to bring difficult fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls to light.  As a consultant to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) for more than 20 years, he designed the imaging protocol for the massive imaging and conservation monitoring project now underway, wherein the IAA has created a web-based library comprising its entire corpus of Dead Sea Scrolls.

More recently, he has focused on developing quantitative methods and tools to use a variety of imaging modes to measure and monitor changes in cultural heritage over time. “The key to advancing the science of spectral imaging in this community is to extract precise spectral and chemical information, non-invasively and to the exacting safety standards to which conservators adhere” said Dr. Bearman. “Headwall’s VNIR and SWIR sensors return spectral and chemical data at extremely high levels of fidelity, which is what preservation experts need,” he concluded. 

The consulting work done between Headwall and Dr. Bearman will be on a global scale, including museums, libraries, built heritage and university collections.


About Headwall Photonics

Headwall Photonics is the leading designer and manufacturer of imaging sensors and spectral instrumentation for industrial, commercial, and government markets. Headwall’s high performance spectrometers, spectral engines, and high performance diffractive optics have been selected by OEM and end-user customers around the world for use in critical application environments.  As a pioneer in the development of hyperspectral sensors and imaging spectrometers, Headwall enjoys a market leadership position through the design and manufacture of patented spectral instrumentation that is customized for application-specific performance.

About Gregory Bearman, PhD

Dr. Bearman retired as a principal scientist at NASA/Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He is currently focusing his attention on bringing imaging and spectroscopy to conservators of cultural heritage around the world. Other notable accomplishments in spectroscopy have been in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and microscopy.  He has published many works on spectroscopy and holds numerous patents and awards, including two R&D 100 Awards for best invention of the year.  More information about him and copies of his publications can be found at

For information contact:

Mr. Chris Van Veen

Headwall Photonics, Inc.     



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