24 August 2017 A novel surface plasmon coupled tunable wavelength filter for hyperspectral imaging
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Abstract
The development of ultra-compact handheld hyperspectral imagers has been impeded by the scarcity of small widefield tunable wavelength filters. The widefield modality is preferred for handheld imaging applications in which image registration can be performed to counter scene shift caused by irregular user motions that would thwart scanning approaches. Conventional widefield tunable filters like the liquid crystal tunable filter and acousto-optic tunable filter achieve narrow passbands across a wide spectral range by utilizing large interaction lengths, thereby increasing the thickness of the device along the optical path. In addition, these technologies rely on rather bulky external control circuitry and, in the case of acousto-optic filters, high power requirements. In the work presented here, we introduce a novel widefield tunable filter for visible and near infrared imaging based on surface plasmon coupling that can be miniaturized without sacrificing performance. The surface plasmon coupled tunable filter (SPCTF) provides diffraction limited spatial resolution with a <10nm nominal passband and a spurious free spectral range of more than 300nm. Acting on the π-polarized component, the device is limited to transmitting 50 percent of unpolarized incident light. This is higher than the throughput of comparable Lyot-based liquid crystal tunable filters that employ a series of linear polarizers. The design of the SPTF is presented along with a comparison of its performance to calculated estimates of transmittance, spectral resolution, and spectral range.
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John F. Turner, Ajaykumar H. Zalavadia, "A novel surface plasmon coupled tunable wavelength filter for hyperspectral imaging", Proc. SPIE 10376, Novel Optical Systems Design and Optimization XX, 103760A (24 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2274671; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2274671
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