Innovative Components In Spectrometer Design

Today’s optical designs have overcome many of the problems that plagued early instrumentation, but reductions in size, weight, and power (SWaP) remain an ongoing goal. Now, researchers have developed a new imaging spectrometer with a significant reduction in SWaP while maintaining performance using innovative components.

The current state of the art of imaging spectrometers is really high-performing, but there are two types of improvements possible to make them better. You can make them optically faster by lowering the f-number, or you can make them smaller using innovative components so that the SWaP penalty is not as large.

The team focused on the latter improvement. They employed two innovative components: a catadioptric lens and a flat dual-blaze immersion grating. The catadioptric lens—a concave meniscus lens with a reflective coating on the back—combines reflective and refractive elements into a single and more compact component. It also uses a flat grating rather than a convex or concave one, which is much easier to manufacture in addition to saving space.

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