Many of the problems that plagued early instrumentation have been overcome in today’s optical designs, but size, weight, and power (SWaP) reductions remain an ongoing goal. Researchers have created a new imaging spectrometer using novel components that significantly reducing SWaP while maintaining performance.
The current state of the art in imaging spectrometers is extremely high, but two types of improvements can be made to improve them. You can make them optically faster by lowering the f-number or making them smaller using innovative components, reducing the SWaP penalty.
The team concentrated on the latter enhancement, and they used two novel elements: a catadioptric lens and a flat dual-blaze immersion grating. The catadioptric lens, which consists of a concave meniscus lens with a reflective coating on the back, combines reflective and refractive elements into a single, more compact component. It also employs a flat grating rather than a convex or concave grating, which is much easier to manufacture and saves space.
The researchers created an imaging spectrometer design for remote sensing of aquatic ecosystems that combines multiple CCVIS modules with an optical telescope as an example application. Researchers also believe the CCVIS could be useful on small satellites for Earth science research and planetary missions.
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