In the past two decades, near-infrared (NIR) hyperspectral imaging instruments have revolutionized our conception of planetary surfaces in terms of evolution, geology, mineralogy, and alteration processes. The cornerstone of this remote analysis technique is the synergy between imagery, giving the geomorphological context of the observations, and NIR spectroscopy whose spectral range is sensitive to the main absorption features of most of the minerals present on planetary surfaces. The development of a generation of space instrument based on Acousto-Optic Tunable Filters (AOTFs) increases the capacity of these spectrometers to be set up in a variety of space probes. The ExoCam concept, developed at Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale and profiting from the lab’s previous experience (MicrOmega onboard Phobos-Grunt, Hayabusa 2 and ExoMars), thus, proposes for the first time to do hyperspectral imagery through a wide aperture AOTF (15 × 15 mm2) in the 0.95–3.6 µm spectral range. The characterization of this instrumental concept, led on a representative breadboard built for this purpose, showed that the acousto-optic diffraction preserves the image quality up to the diffraction/resolution limit over the whole field of view. The spectral resolution (from 2 to 25 nm over the spectral range) and accuracy of the instrument are also consistent with the identification of planetary surface minerals. This paper describes the ExoCam concept and objectives, the setup of an optical breadboard representative of a space instrument based on this concept, and the results of performance characterizations realized on the breadboard.
A new concept of acousto-optic tunable filter-based near-infrared hyperspectral imager for planetary surface exploration
Clément Royer, C. Pilorget, V. Hamm, J.-P. Bibring, F. Poulet; A new concept of acousto-optic tunable filter-based near-infrared hyperspectral imager for planetary surface exploration. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 1 April 2022; 93 (4): 044501. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0075256
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