13 May 2016 A novel lightweight Fizeau infrared interferometric imaging system
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Abstract
Aperture synthesis imaging techniques using an interferometer provide a means to achieve imagery with spatial resolution equivalent to a conventional filled aperture telescope at a significantly reduced size, weight and cost, an important implication for air- and space-borne persistent observing platforms. These concepts have been realized in SIRII (Space-based IR-imaging interferometer), a new light-weight, compact SWIR and MWIR imaging interferometer designed for space-based surveillance. The sensor design is configured as a six-element Fizeau interferometer; it is scalable, light-weight, and uses structural components and main optics made of carbon fiber replicated polymer (CFRP) that are easy to fabricate and inexpensive. A three-element prototype of the SIRII imager has been constructed. The optics, detectors, and interferometric signal processing principles draw on experience developed in ground-based astronomical applications designed to yield the highest sensitivity and resolution with cost-effective optical solutions. SIRII is being designed for technical intelligence from geo-stationary orbit. It has an instantaneous 6 x 6 mrad FOV and the ability to rapidly scan a 6x6 deg FOV, with a minimal SNR. The interferometric design can be scaled to larger equivalent filled aperture, while minimizing weight and costs when compared to a filled aperture telescope with equivalent resolution. This scalability in SIRII allows it address a range of IR-imaging scenarios.
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Douglas A. Hope, Michael Hart, Steve Warner, Oli Durney, Robert Romeo, "A novel lightweight Fizeau infrared interferometric imaging system", Proc. SPIE 9838, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications IX, 983806 (13 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223426; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2223426
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