Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-2407
2003-07-07

Miniature High-Performance Infrared Spectrometer for the Monitoring of Spacecraft Vital Life-Support Systems 2003-01-2407

Manned space systems have many requirements for the monitoring of vital life support systems such as the cabin air quality and the quality of the recycled water supply. Infrared spectroscopy probes the characteristic vibrational and rotational modes of chemical bonds in molecules to provide information about both the chemical composition and the bonding configuration of a sample. The significant advantage of the IR spectral technique is that it can be used with minimal consumables to simultaneously detect a large variety of chemical and biochemical species with high chemical specificity. To date, relatively large Fourier Transform (FT-IR) spectrometers employing variations of the Michelson interferometer have been successfully employed in space for various IR spectroscopy applications. However, FT-IR systems are mechanically complex, bulky (> 15 kg), and require considerable processing. This paper discusses the use of advanced integrated optics and smart optical coding techniques to significantly extend the performance of miniature IR spectrometers by several orders of magnitude in sensitivity. This can provide the next-generation of compact, high-performance IR spectrometers with monolithically integrated optical systems for robust optical alignment. The entire module can weigh under 3 kg to minimize the mass penalty for space applications.

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