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1 September 2015 Performance characterization of a pressure-tuned wide-angle Michelson interferometric spectral filter for high spectral resolution lidar
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Abstract
High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) is typically realized using an absorption filter to separate molecular returns from particulate returns. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) has designed and built a Pressure-Tuned Wide-Angle Michelson Interferometer (PTWAMI) as an alternate means to separate the two types of atmospheric returns. While absorption filters only work at certain wavelengths and suffer from low photon efficiency due to light absorption, an interferometric spectral filter can be designed for any wavelength and transmits nearly all incident photons. The interferometers developed at LaRC employ an air spacer in one arm, and a solid glass spacer in the other. Field widening is achieved by specific design and selection of the lengths and refractive indices of these two arms. The principal challenge in using such an interferometer as a spectral filter for HSRL aboard aircraft is that variations in glass temperature and air pressure cause changes in the interferometer’s optical path difference. Therefore, a tuning mechanism is needed to actively accommodate for these changes. The pressure-tuning mechanism employed here relies on changing the pressure in an enclosed, air-filled arm of the interferometer to change the arm’s optical path length. However, tuning using pressure will not adjust for tilt, mirror warpage, or thermally induced wavefront error, so the structural, thermal, and optical behavior of the device must be well understood and optimized in the design and manufacturing process. The PTWAMI has been characterized for particulate transmission ratio, wavefront error, and tilt, and shows acceptable performance for use in an HSRL instrument.
© (2015) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Shane T. Seaman, Anthony L. Cook, Salvatore J. Scola, Chris A. Hostetler, Ian Miller, and Wayne Welch "Performance characterization of a pressure-tuned wide-angle Michelson interferometric spectral filter for high spectral resolution lidar", Proc. SPIE 9612, Lidar Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring XV, 96120H (1 September 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2189114
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