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Spectrometry: photon sorting at the speed of light

Author: Vink, H.J.P. · Day, J.P.R. · Volatier, J.B.C.G. · Nijkerk, M.D.
Publisher: SPIE
Source:Mazuray, L.Wartmann, R.Wood, A.P., Proceedings Optical Systems Design 2015, Optical Design and Engineering VI, 7 September 2015, Jena, Germany
Identifier: 528375
Keywords: Electronics · Optical design · Spectroscopy · Super-gratings · Straylight · Free-form mirror · Small-satellite system · High Tech Systems & Materials · Industrial Innovation · Nano Technology · OPT - Optics · TS - Technical Sciences


The fact that every spectrometer can sort light by wavelength at the speed of light is intriguing. The field of spectrometry is a long-existing and ever-changing one. The application areas extend from optical communication to possible extraterrestrial life detection, health monitoring, environmental monitoring and quite a long list of other topics. TNO has played a role in several of these areas, always using state of the art designs and components. Some of the recent developments are described, as well as a possible path for (near) future developments. Any spectrometer consists of a telescope, slit, collimator, disperser and an imager. Each of these functions is discussed using and even pushing progress in the manufacturing and design capabilities of the industry. The progress from a two-mirror spherical telescope for a pushbroom space-based daily global coverage spectroscopy instrument OMI to a two-mirror freeform telescope for TROPOMI is described, the design and manufacturing of supergratings showing very little straylight, freeform mirrors and the use of deliberately decentered lenses is shown. A near-future small-satellite system is shown that is being built and tested as this paper was written.