Posted in | Weather Sensors

SS1 SunScan Canopy Analysis System from Delta-T Devices

The SunScan plant canopy analyzer system provides important information about Leaf Area Index (LAI) and biomass production by using field measurements of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) in crop canopies.

The SunScan plant canopy analyzer is improved for low regular canopies, for example, a majority of agricultural crops. The 1 m probe allows quick spatial averaging of vast areas and PAR mapping for non-uniform crops like orchards and vineyards. The exclusive BF5 reference PAR sunshine sensor enables the SunScan plant canopy analyzer to be used in most weather conditions.


  • Displays Leaf Area Index (LAI) directly
  • Computes incident and transmitted PAR in canopies
  • Appropriate for phenotyping applications
  • Can be used in cloudy and clear conditions
  • Established, research-grade canopy analyzer

It is available in three configurations.

SS1-COM Complete System

This is the comprehensive package of SunScan items, comprising of SunData Software, SunScan Probe, BF5 Sunshine Sensor, PDA, tripod, and carrying case.

The whole system offers a robust canopy analysis tool. It can quickly compute LAI, measure sunflecks, and measure PAR interception using either spot readings or unattended logging.

SS1-COM-R4 Complete System with Radio Link

It comprises of a radio link between the altered SunScan Probe and BF5 Sunshine Sensor.

The radio link has a range of 100 m – 200 m and replaces the cable between the SunScan Probe and BF5, specifically valuable in taller canopies or where readings are needed at extensively spaced sites.

SS1-STD3 Standard System

The Standard system consists of the SunScan Probe, PDA, and SunData Software.

The Standard System can measure the complete range of SunScan measurements, including LAI. The probe has to act as its own above-canopy reference, thus needing steady light conditions.

Ease of Use

The SunScan plant canopy analyzer probe includes 64 PAR Sensors embedded in a 1 m long probe. When a reading is made, each sensor is scanned and the measurements are transmitted to a hand-held PDA, type RPDA3, through an RS232 interface. Although the average PAR level from the Probe is measured, all 64 individual readings can be stored for more comprehensive PAR mapping or creating linear transects. Automatic logging can be chosen to acquire readings over a time period at a specific point. If linked to a data logger, the Probe can operate as a Linear Quantum Sensor (also called a line quantum sensor).

Rugged PDA

The RPDA3 is a remarkably robust handheld PDA which gathers and examines readings from the SunScan Probe. The SunData Software can display, review, and store raw readings and derived functions such as LAI in the field, and if needed, it can also average groups of readings. Readings are stored in the internal memory which stores more than 1 million readings, or in extensively available micro SD cards which offer removable data storage. The gathered data can be easily moved to a PC.

Unique Above-Canopy Reference Sensor

The unique feature of the SunScan is an optional reference sensor, incorporated into the design, to measure the direct and diffuse light above the canopy at the same time. The BF5 Sunshine Sensor offers these above-canopy reference measurements rapidly and effortlessly. The BF5 employs a range of photodiodes and a distinctive shading pattern to determine whether the sun is shining and to quantify the direct and diffuse components of solar radiation. This totally eliminates the need for complex shade ring adjustments needed with traditional diffuse light sensors.

Radio Link Option

The SunScan Probe is connected with the BF5 reference sensor using an optional radio link, thus eliminating the need for long connecting cables. The link functions over the 434 MHz license-free frequency and can send up to 250 m line-of-sight or 100 m to 200 m in vegetation.

SunScan Comparison with Li-Cor LAI-2000

In a 2009 paper* in the Crop Science journal, the use of SunScan canopy analyzer was compared with LAI-2000 systems for calculating LAI on upland rice cultivated in Benin. The authors discovered that the SunScan canopy analyzer offered a highly crucial measurement of LAI up to 4 m2.m-2 in comparison with the destructive sampling (slope of regression line = 1.00, R2 = 0.96) and as a whole concluded that the SunScan can be employed to calculate LAI of various upland rice cultivars with different kinds of canopy development.

* Sone, C., K. Saito, and K. Futakuchi. 2009. Comparison of Three Methods for Estimating Leaf Area Index of Upland Rice Cultivars. Crop Sci. 49:1438-1443.

Leaf Area Index (LAI) in Forests and Woodlands

SunScan is well-suited for examining and characterizing low regular canopies such as crops. However, the Delta-T HemiView system is the right option for forest and woodland canopies.

SS1 SunScan Canopy Analysis System from Delta-T Devices

Canopy analysis system
SS1 SunScan
SunScan canopy analyzer
SS1 SunScan canopy analyzer
SS1 SunScan canopy analyzer in low lying crops

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