Tiny MEMS-based spectrometer offers dynamic spectral resolution

As hyperspectral imaging systems improve and collect more data, processing the increasingly larger data sets becomes more expensive and time consuming.

Dec 1st, 2007

As hyperspectral imaging systems improve and collect more data, processing the increasingly larger data sets becomes more expensive and time consuming. Meanwhile, the size and weight of the equipment are often a concern in air- and space-borne platforms. Researchers at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) have introduced a prototype hyperspectral imaging system that addresses both of these concerns. The push-broom-type design includes several gratings with different pitches in the optical system.

The spectrometer incorporates microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) mirrors that direct the light to the desired grating. This allows adaptive space-variant dispersion (control of the spectral resolution as a function of the image-point location, changing in time) to optimize spectral performance. The resulting device measures only 4 × 1 × 2 mm, allowing the tiling of multiple spectrometers in an array for large-image formats. The compact size gives a modest spectral resolution of 7.5 to 15 nm, sufficient for many hyperspectral imaging applications where high spatial resolution is required. The prototype imaging system covers a wavelength range of 500 to 1000 nm. Contact James Leger at leger@umn.edu.

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