19 September 2016 Mako airborne thermal infrared imaging spectrometer: performance update
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Abstract
The Aerospace Corporation’s sensitive Mako thermal infrared imaging spectrometer, which operates between 7.6 and 13.2 microns at a spectral sampling of 44 nm, and flies in a DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, has undergone significant changes over the past year that have greatly increased its performance. A comprehensive overhaul of its electronics has enabled frame rates up to 3255 Hz and noise reductions bringing it close to background-limited. A replacement diffraction grating whose peak efficiency was tuned to shorter wavelength, coupled with new AR coatings on certain key optics, has improved the performance at the short wavelength end by a factor of 3, resulting in better sensitivity for methane detection, for example. The faster frame rate has expanded the variety of different scan schemes that are possible, including multi-look scans in which even sizeable target areas can be scanned multiple times during a single overpass. Off-nadir scanning to ±56.4° degrees has also been demonstrated, providing an area scan rate of 33 km2/minute for a 2-meter ground sampling distance (GSD) at nadir. The sensor achieves a Noise Equivalent Spectral Radiance (NESR) of better than 0.6 microflicks (μf, 10-6 W/sr/cm2/μm) in each of the 128 spectral channels for a typical airborne dataset in which 4 frames are co-added. An additional improvement is the integration of a new commercial 3D stabilization mount which is significantly better at compensating for aircraft motions and thereby maintains scan performance under quite turbulent flying conditions. The new sensor performance and capabilities are illustrated.
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Jeffrey L. Hall, Jeffrey L. Hall, Richard H. Boucher, Richard H. Boucher, Kerry N. Buckland, Kerry N. Buckland, David J. Gutierrez, David J. Gutierrez, Eric R. Keim, Eric R. Keim, David M. Tratt, David M. Tratt, David W. Warren, David W. Warren, } "Mako airborne thermal infrared imaging spectrometer: performance update", Proc. SPIE 9976, Imaging Spectrometry XXI, 997604 (19 September 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2239245; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2239245
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