Blue and UV LED-induced fluorescence in cotton foreign matter
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Abstract Background Cotton is an important domesticated fiber used to manufacture a variety of products and industrial goods. During harvesting with cotton strippers and cotton pickers, it is contaminated with foreign matter from botanical and non-botanical sources which adversely affect the quality and consistency of cotton, and therefore reduces its market value. To improve the current grading done by the High Volume Instrument (HVI) and human inspectors, it was explored whether fluorescence imaging can be used for cotton foreign matter detection. Results Eight types of botanical foreign matter (bark, bract, brown leaf, green leaf, hull, seed coat, seed, stem), and four types of non-botanical foreign matter (paper, twine, plastic bale packaging, plastic bag) were subjected to a fluorescence spectroscopy analysis to determine their optimal excitation and emission wavelength range. Matrix 3D scans were performed in the excitation range from 300 nm to 500 nm, and emission range from 320 nm to 700 nm, and the results indicated the photo-excitable fluorescence in the aforementioned excitation range for all the selected foreign matter categories. Consequently, the blue and the UV LEDs were selected as the excitation sources. The blue LED light provided optimal excitation light for bark, brown leaf, bract, green leaf, hull, and stem, while the UV LED light provided optimal excitation light for paper, plastic bag, plastic packaging, seed, seed coat, and twine. Conclusions UV and blue light induces fluorescence in 12 types of botanical and non-botanical cotton foreign matter. An imaging apparatus with blue and UV light excitation sources, and a consumer grade SLR camera was successfully developed to capture and characterize fluorescent images of cotton foreign matter. Based on the results, fluorescent imaging could be a promising method for cotton foreign matter detection. Future studies will focus on the classification of cotton foreign matter categories and to further refine the image processing sequence.