OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Network System-of-Systems
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OBJECTIVE: Develop a midwave infrared (MWIR) hyperspectral imager (HSI) capable of covering a 3-5 um with at least 250 spectral bands.
DESCRIPTION: Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) has demonstrated utility for material classification and target detection/identification as well as gas detection and quantification.  Most HSI sensors work in either the visible through shortwave infrared (V-SWIR) or longwave infrared (LWIR.) V-SWIR sensors rely on solar illumination limited their use to daytime applications. LWIR sensors rely on the emitted radiance from targets meaning they can operate during day or night but cameras and often optics must be cooled to cryogenic temperatures to avoid near field radiance swamping any target signal thus increasing cost, size, weight, and power (C-SWaP.) MWIR HSI has traditionally received less attention because both solar reflection and self-emission affect the target signature complicating target detection. As non-linear detection algorithms such as neural networks gain prominence these complications become less of a concern. Largely because of these processing issues development of MWIR HSI sensors over the last 20 years has been extremely limited. As such existing MWIR HSI sensors such as Aerospace’s MAHI have SWaPs (>10ft^3 and >100lbs) that far exceed those needed for attritable platforms.  Low-SWaP MWIR options such as Telops’s MWIR Hypercam  rely on long integration times to get sufficient SNR which makes detection of transient events such as gas releases or moving targets extremely difficult. MWIR FPA and other component technologies have continued to advance during this time making it possible to design a sensor that meets the SWaP constraints of attritable platforms. MWIR HSI sensor can also potentially balance the limitations of V-SWIR and LWIR sensors allowing for day-night operation but at reduced C-SWaP compared to LWIR systems. Although the use of MWIR HSI has been limited it has demonstrated success in greenhouse gas detection and quantification,  camouflage detection,  and explosives detection  as well as other applications. As camouflages become more sophisticated in reducing SWIR and LWIR features additional wavebands such as MWIR will become more valuable. Additionally, several combustions products such as CO2, CO, H20, and N2O have strong features in the MWIR that can be used to determine whether an engine is running and/or characterize different types of engines (i.e. diesel vs gas.) These applications would directly support AF Operational Imperative 3 by both detecting critical targets and distinguishing targets from decoys. The proposed system should have at least 250 bands with an objective of 600 bands and cover the full wavelength range from 3-5 um (T) or 2.9-5.5um (O). The sensor should have a GSD of no more than 3m (T), 1.5m (O) from when viewing nadir from an altitude of 20kft. NESR should not exceed 2 u-flicks (T) 1 u-flick (O) averaged across all bands between 4.5 and 5 um when viewing a 300K blackbody. There are no SWaP constraints for Phase I and II design and prototype but a design path forward should be presented for the sensor to fit in a volume of 5ft^3(T)/2ft^3(O), weigh less than 80lbs(T)/20lbs(O), and draw less than 500W(T)/100W(O) power. Prototype designs closer to meeting these specifications will be given preference, but the system performance metrics will take precedence.
PHASE I: Develop plans and concept designs and identify component options to demonstrate viability.
PHASE II: Develop and refine concept outlined in Phase I to include thermal and mechanical modeling, stray light analysis, and optical design tolerancing. Develop breadboard lab prototype (T) or ruggedized ground-based (O) sensor system.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Adapt existing design to meet C-SWaP requirements of an attritable platform, exact platform is to-be-determined but should be roughly what is outlined in the description. Ruggedize design for flight environment up to 70kft and conduct flight testing.
- 1M.T. Eismann, Hyperspectral Remote Sensing, SPIE press, Bellingham, WA (2012)
- Tratt, David M., et al. "MAHI: An airborne mid-infrared imaging spectrometer for industrial emissions monitoring." IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 55.8 (2017): 4558-4566.
- Gagnon, Marc-André, et al. "Standoff midwave infrared hyperspectral imaging of ship plumes." 2015 7th Workshop on Hyperspectral Image and Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing (WHISPERS). IEEE, 2015.
- Casey I. Honniball, Rob Wright, and Paul G. Lucey "MWIR hyperspectral imaging with the MIDAS instrument", Proc. SPIE 10177, Infrared Technology and Applications XLIII, 101770J (9 May 2017)
- Kumar, Vinay, and Jayanta Kumar Ghosh. "Camouflage detection using mwir hyperspectral images." Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing 45 (2017): 139-145.
- K. Ruxton, G. Robertson, W. Miller, G.P. A. Malcolm, and G. T. Maker "Mid-infrared hyperspectral imaging for the detection of explosive compounds", Proc. SPIE 8546, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence VIII, 85460V (30 October 2012)
KEYWORDS: Hyperspectral; Midwave Infrared; Low SWa