We are currently developing linear variable filters (LVF) with very high wavelength gradients. In the visible, these filters have a wavelength gradient of 50 to 100 nm/mm. In the infrared, the wavelength gradient covers the range of 500 to 900 microns/mm. Filter designs include band pass, long pass and ulta-high performance anti-reflection coatings. The active area of the filters is on the order of 5 to 30 mm along the wavelength gradient and up to 30 mm in the orthogonal, constant wavelength direction. Variation in performance along the constant direction is less than 1%. Repeatable performance from filter to filter, absolute placement of the filter relative to a substrate fiducial and, high in-band transmission across the full spectral band is demonstrated.
Applications include order sorting filters, direct replacement of the spectrometer and hyper-spectral imaging. Off-band rejection with an optical density of greater than 3 allows use of the filter as an order sorting filter. The linear variable order sorting filters replaces other filter types such as block filters. The disadvantage of block filters is the loss of pixels due to the transition between filter blocks. The LVF is a continuous gradient without a discrete transition between filter wavelength regions.
If the LVF is designed as a narrow band pass filter, it can be used in place of a spectrometer thus reducing overall sensor weight and cost while improving the robustness of the sensor. By controlling the orthogonal performance (smile) the LVF can be sized to the dimensions of the detector. When imaging on to a 2 dimensional array and operating the sensor in a push broom configuration, the LVF spectrometer performs as a hyper-spectral imager.
This paper presents performance of LVF fabricated in the far infrared on substrates sized to available detectors. The impact of spot size, F-number and filter characterization are presented. Results are also compared to extended visible LVF filters.
Thomas D. Rahmlow, "Linear variable narrow bandpass optical filters in the far infrared (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10181, Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR II, 101810L (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 10, 2017; Published: 7 June 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2266147.5458106171001.
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