This paper reports the activities performed in the framework of the ESA contract 18432/04/NL/AR: Enhancement of diffusers BSDF Accuracy.
This study was conducted to investigate properties of various diffusers. Diffusers are widely used in space instruments as part of the on-board absolute calibration. Knowledge of the behavior of the diffuser is therefore most important.
From measurements of launched instruments in-orbit it has been discovered that when a diffuser is used in the vacuum of space the BSDF (Bi-directional Scattering Distribution Function) can change with respect to the one in ambient conditions. This is called the air/vacuum effect and has been simulated in this study by measuring the BSDF in a laboratory in ambient as well as vacuum conditions, results of this part of the study will be reported.
Another effect on the BSDF is not related to the air/vacuum effect, but to the design parameters of the optical system and the scattering properties of the diffuser. The effect is called Spectral Features and is a noise like structure superimposed on the BSDF. To observe this effect, spectral and spatial (partially) coherence light is needed. High-resolution spectrometers provide the spectral coherence and a narrow field of view provides the spatial coherence. Modern space spectrometers have high spectral resolution and/or a small field of view (high spatial resolution).
Different diffusers create different speckle patterns leading to different Spectral Features amplitudes. Therefore the choice of diffuser can be very critical with respect to the required absolute radiometric calibration of an instrument. Even if the Spectral Features are small it can influence the error budget of the retrieval algorithms for the level 2 products.
In this presentation diffuser trade-off results are presented and the Spectral Features model applied to the optical configuration of the MERIS instrument is compared to in-flight measurements of MERIS.
The introduction describes the use of diffusers in earth-observation satellites and why they cause spectral features. In Sec.2 the physical background of the spectral features, speckles, is discussed. Section 3 shows the results from air/vacuum effect measurements (SubSec.3.1), spectral features amplitude measurements on our in-house setup and simulations in a single graphical display (SubSec.3.2 ), and the measured and simulated results for the MERIS instrument (SubSec.3.3). The following sections deal with a description of the measuring setup and the model that has been made to do the simulations. Finally, in the discussion, topics like what is the best diffuser and what can be done to minimize the amplitude of the spectral features will be dealt with.