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13 March 2013 Optical MEMS in space instruments for Earth observation and astronomy
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Abstract
Optical MEMS could be major candidates for designing future generation of space instruments. In addition to their compactness, scalability, and specific task customization, they could generate new functions not available with current technologies. We have listed new functions associated with several types of MEMS. Instrumental applications are derived and we propose two promising concepts using object selection and spectral tailoring techniques. In Earth Observation instruments, observation of scenes including bright sources leads to an important degradation of the recorded signal. We propose a new concept to remove dynamically the bright sources and obtain a field of view (FOV) with an optically enhanced SNR. Our concept consists in replacing the plain slit in classical designs by an active row of MOEMS. Experimental demonstration of this concept has been conducted on a dedicated bench: a scene with a contiguous bright area has been focused on a micromirror array and imaged on a CCD detector. After the programmable slit, the straylight issued from the bright zone is polluting the scene; the micromirrors located on the bright area are switched off, removing almost completely the straylight in the instrument. In Astronomy and Earth Observation, we propose an innovative reconfigurable instrument: a programmable wide-field spectrograph where both the FOV and the spectrum could be tailored thanks to a 2D micromirror array. The FOV is linear and each point spectrum could be modified dynamically along the second direction. A demonstrator has been designed and its realization is under way for testing the unique performances of this instrument.
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F. Zamkotsian, A. Liotard, P. Lanzoni, and T. Viard "Optical MEMS in space instruments for Earth observation and astronomy", Proc. SPIE 8616, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XII, 861618 (13 March 2013); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2007292
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