April 19, 2006, Westford, MA--Barr Associates has designed and fabricated an eighteen-element multispectral optical-filter microarray that has individual thin-film-filter elements that are only 0.032 mm wide.
A key driver in the development of such small filter arrays is the desire to reduce mass, power, and volume in multispectral sensors through the elimination of a filter wheel. The main advantage of the new microarray technology is the increased number of spectral bands, which can be accommodated in a smaller volume, and are compatible with higher-resolution (smaller pixels) detector arrays.
These new microarrays can be designed and built for use with any focal-plane-array detector from UV to long-wave IR wavelength ranges (Barr's fabrication equipment is capable of creating coatings for spectral regions falling within the range of approximately 200 nm to 30 microns). Potential applications range from commercial colorimetry to space-based multispectral imaging. "The newly developed microarrays will provide a very rugged, high-performance alternative to linear variable filters or diffraction gratings," said Kevin Downing, product-line manager of the arrays product line at Barr.