Measuring the 3D shape of plants for phenotyping purposes using active 3D laser scanning devices has become an important field of research. While the acquisition of stem and root structure is mostly straightforward, extensive and non-invasive measuring of the volumetric shape of leaves, i.e., the leaf thickness, is more challenging. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine whether the leaf thickness is measurable using a high precision industrial laser scanning system. The study comprises a metrological investigation of the accuracy of the laser scanning system with regards to thickness measurements as well as experiments for leaf thickness measurements using several leaves of three different types of crop. The results indicate that although the measuring system is principally able to measure thicknesses of about 74
m with statistical certainty, the leaf thickness is not measurable accurately. The reason for this can be attributed to the measurable penetration depth of the laser scanner combined with the variation of the angle of incidence. These effects cause systematic uncertainties and significant variations of the derived leaf thickness.
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