Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-2878
2005-07-11

Advanced Integrated-Optic and MNT Technologies for the Infrared Spectral Monitoring of Spacecraft Vital Life-Support Systems and Remote Astronaut Health Diagnostics 2005-01-2878

Manned space systems have many requirements for the monitoring of vital life support systems including quality of cabin air and the recycled water supply, as well as direct monitoring of vital indicators of astronaut health. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is an attractive monitoring technique because it requires minimal consumables while providing relatively high chemical specificity for the detection of a wide variety of biochemicals using the characteristic vibrational modes of chemical bonds. For space-based systems, the important drivers are reliability, power consumption, mass and simplicity of operation. MPB has advanced its IOSPEC™ technology for miniature integrated IR spectrometers to provide performance comparable to large bench-top IR systems but in a compact and ruggedized footprint weighing under 2.5 kg. Relatively high spectral resolution (4 to 8 nm) over broad spectral ranges exceeding 4000 nm is provided with low background signal scattering (<0.05%) using precision master gratings and a proprietary IR integrated waveguide structure. This paper considers the use of advanced smart thin-film technologies and MEMS integrated-optics for active binary-coded optical processing to extend the performance attainable for miniature IR spectrometer systems. These new technologies facilitate relatively independent optimization of the spectrometer system spectral resolution and optical throughput. By coupling the IR measurement system to additional micro-nano technologies for microfluidics, a compact, robust system can be realized for online fluid analysis. Dedicated fiber-optic sensors can be used to supplement the IR measurements to provide additional data, such as pH level and temperature measurements of the liquid samples.

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