Tunable etalon arrays for Earth Science Measurements
NASA requires new passive optical devices for Earth science measurements from various platforms. These components must be compact, light, reliable, with low power consumption and must be readily integrable into larger systems. One such optical component is an array of tunable Fabry-Perot etalon filters that transmits narrow wavelengths when irradiated with a broadband light source, and where the transmission wavelength can be tuned over a broad range. Tunable Fabry-Perot etalon filters comprise two parallel mirrors with an initial gap of ca. 0.5 to 10 mm (for desired optical properties); and whose separation can be adjusted by ca. 0.5 to 1 mm (for desired tuning properties). Because of the fine dimensional and parallelism control requirements, such devices are difficult to assemble we are not aware of any other group that has successfully fabricated an array of tunable etalon devices.We have used a novel MEMS approach to fabricate an array of tunable Fabry-Perot devices. This work was performed for the Active Optics Group at NASA Langley (Dr. Natalie Clark, ph: 757 864 4662); initial prototypes were delivered along with test data. We propose to further the development of such devices under this contract and to integrate them into larger systems.
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