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Microbolometer spectrometer: the multi purpose smallsat instrument

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Author: Leijtens, J.A.P. · Court, A.J. · Boom, K. de
Institution: Technisch Physische Dienst TNO - TH
Source:Warmbein, B., 4S Symposium: Small Satellites, Systems and Services, 20-24 September 2004, La Rochelle, France, 571, 261-266
Identifier: 238240
Keywords: Bolometers · Detectors · Infrared imaging · Optimization · Space research · Spectrometers · Atmospheric window · Microbolometers · Satellite applications · Thermal infra red (TIR) multispectral imagers · Satellites


Due to lower mass, size and power demands and recognized increased reliability, microbolometer detectors seem to be well suited for small sattelite applications. Due to the improving technical performance, next generation instruments can use uncooled microbolometer arrays without significantly sacrificing performance. An example of this type of instruments is a hyper spectral imager called Micro Bolometer Spectrometer MIBS, which is being developed by TNO TPD. By optimizing the throughput of the optical system, and using the latest improvements in detector performance, TNO TPD has been able to design a spectrometer that is able to provide co-registered measurements in the 7 to 14 μm wavelength region resulting in an acceptable NETD performance on the basis of currently available standard detectors. Through further developments, it is expected that detectors with even lower NETD will become available in the future. Apart from the usual multispectral imaging in the thermal infrared atmospheric window, the concept can be used for several other applications, for example CO2 monitoring due to the broader spectral response. The removal of the highpass filter, which is typically integrated on the window of the currently available bolometer detectors, allows imaging in the range from 2 to beyond 15 μm. This enables an instrument to perform a number of simultaneous tasks like atmospheric and disaster monitoring. A number of applications would benefit from high temporal coverage, which can only be provided in an economical fashion by the use of mini or micro satellites. Due to the limited size of the instrument, MIBS is well suited for application on a microsatellite.