The Linearly Variable Filters (LVF) are complex optical devices that, integrated in a CCD, can realize a "single chip spectrometer". In the framework of an ESA Study, a team of industries and institutes led by SELEX-Galileo explored the design principles and manufacturing techniques, realizing and characterizing LVF samples based both on All-Dielectric (AD) and Metal-Dielectric (MD) Coating Structures in the VNIR and SWIR spectral ranges. In particular the achieved performances on spectral gradient, transmission bandwidth and Spectral Attenuation (SA) are presented and critically discussed. Potential improvements will be highlighted. In addition the results of a feasibility study of a SWIR Linear Variable Filter are presented with the comparison of design prediction and measured performances. Finally criticalities related to the filter-CCD packaging are discussed.
The main achievements reached during these activities have been:
- to evaluate by design, manufacturing and test of LVF samples the achievable performances compared with target requirements;
- to evaluate the reliability of the projects by analyzing their repeatability;
- to define suitable measurement methodologies
The ESA-JAXA mission BepiColombo that will be launched in 2018 is devoted to the observation of Mercury, the innermost planet of the Solar System. SIMBIOSYS is its remote sensing suite, which consists of three instruments: the High Resolution Imaging Channel (HRIC), the Visible and Infrared Hyperspectral Imager (VIHI), and the Stereo Imaging Channel (STC). The latter will provide the global three dimensional reconstruction of the Mercury surface, and it represents the first push-frame stereo camera on board of a space satellite. Based on a new telescope design, STC combines the advantages of a compact single detector camera to the convenience of a double direction acquisition system; this solution allows to minimize mass and volume performing a push-frame imaging acquisition. The shared camera sensor is divided in six portions: four are covered with suitable filters; the others, one looking forward and one backwards with respect to nadir direction, are covered with a panchromatic filter supplying stereo image pairs of the planet surface. The main STC scientific requirements are to reconstruct in 3D the Mercury surface with a vertical accuracy better than 80 m and performing a global imaging with a grid size of 65 m along-track at the periherm. Scope of this work is to present the on-ground geometric calibration pipeline for this original instrument. The selected STC off-axis configuration forced to develop a new distortion map model. Additional considerations are connected to the detector, a Si-Pin hybrid CMOS, which is characterized by a high fixed pattern noise. This had a great impact in pre-calibration phases compelling to use a not common approach to the definition of the spot centroids in the distortion calibration process. This work presents the results obtained during the calibration of STC concerning the distortion analysis for three different temperatures. These results are then used to define the corresponding distortion model of the camera.
SIMBIOSYS is a highly integrated instrument suite that will be mounted on-board BepiColombo, which is the fifth cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency dedicated to the exploration of the planet Mercury and it is expected to be launched in 2016. The SIMBIOSYS instrument consists of three channels: the STereo imaging Channel (STC), with broad spectral bands in the 400–950 nm range and medium spatial resolution (up to 50 m/px); the High Resolution Imaging Channel (HRIC), with broad spectral bands in the 400–900 nm range and high spatial resolution (up to 5 m/px), and the Visible and near- Infrared Hyperspectral Imaging channel (VIHI), with high spectral resolution (up to 6 nm) in the 400–2000 nm range and spatial resolution up to 100 m/px. The on-ground calibration system has to cover the full spectral range of the instrument, i.e. from 400 to 2000 nm, and the emitted radiance has to vary over a range of four decades to account for both simulations of Mercury surface acquisition and star field observations. The methods and the results of the measurements done to calibrate the integrating sphere needed for the on-ground radiometric testing of the SIMBIOSYS instrument will be given and discussed. Temporal stability, both on short and long periods, spatial and spectral uniformity, and the emitted radiance for different lamp configurations and different shutter apertures have been measured. The results of the data analysis confirm that the performance of the integrating sphere is well suited for the radiometric calibration of all the three different channels of the SIMBIOSYS instrument.
Compact spectrometers are of interest for space applications for both Earth observation and analysis of planet soil. The
spectrometer here described is dedicated to Land imaging and is based on the use of linear variable filters for wavelength
selection. This kind of filter is able to transmit the radiation in a narrow band (<20 nm) centered on a wavelength that
changes along its surface, and to operate in a wide spectrum (visible-infrared). Both the variable filter characteristics and
the results of the breadboard spectrometer operation will be reported.