Development of IFU Spectrometers

UK Astronomy Technology Centre working with the University of Edinburgh

Pathfinder Project

Integral Field Unit Spectrometers for Earth Observation

A team from the UK Astronomy Technology Centre working with the University of Edinburgh has investigated the improvements possible through the use of image slicers, a technology capable of providing increased sensitivity and resolution over existing systems. The technique uses internationally leading UK technology developed for astronomical space missions and applying it to future Earth observation.

Integral field units (IFUs) are used to reformat an image field, providing greater throughput (in terms of photons collected at the aperture) when used as a front-end to a spectrograph. This in turn can be used to provide improved sensitivity and/or higher resolution. The design study is based on science goals for monitoring CO2 and other climate-relevant chemical species to investigate the possible uses of IFUs in spectrscopy using short-wave infra-red (SWIR) in order to provide enabling technology for the next generation of Earth observation missions.