A tunable-bandwidth filter system (TBFS), now undergoing development, is intended to be part of a remote-sensing multispectral imaging system that will operate in the visible and near infrared spectral region (wavelengths from 400 to 900 nm). Attributes of the TBFS include rapid tunability of the pass band over a wide wavelength range and high transmission efficiency. The TBFS is based on a unique integration of two pairs of broadband Raman reflection holographic filters with two rotating spherical lenses. In experiments, a prototype of the TBFS was shown to be capable of spectral sampling of images in the visible range over a 200-nm spectral range with a spectral resolution of ˜30 nm.

The figure depicts the optical layout of a prototype of the TBFS as part of a laboratory multispectral imaging system for the spectral sampling of color test images in two orthogonal polarizations. Each pair of broadband Raman reflection holographic filters is mounted at an equatorial plane between two halves of a spherical lens. The two filters in each pair are characterized by steep spectral slopes (equivalently, narrow spectral edges), no ripple or side lobes in their pass bands, and a few nanometers of non-overlapping wavelength range between their pass bands. Each spherical lens and thus the filter pair within it is rotated in order to rapidly tune its pass band. The rotations of the lenses are effected by electronically controlled, programmable, high-precision rotation stages. The rotations are coordinated by electronic circuits operating under overall supervision of a personal computer in order to obtain the desired variation of the overall pass bands with time.

Embedding the filters inside the spherical lenses increases the range of the hologram incidence angles, making it possible to continuously tune the pass and stop bands of the filters over a wider wavelength range. In addition, each spherical lens also serves as part of the imaging optics: The telephoto lens focuses incoming light to a field stop that is also a focal point of each spherical lens. A correcting lens in front of the field stop compensates for the spherical aberration of the spherical lenses. The front surface of each spherical lens collimates the light coming from the field stop. After the collimated light passes through the filter in the spherical lens, the rear surface of the lens focuses the light onto a charge-coupled-device image detector.

This work was done by Tin Aye, Kevin Yu, Fedor Dimov, and Gajendra Savant of Physical Optics Corp. for Stennis Space Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

the Intellectual Property Manager
Stennis Space Center
(228)- 688-1929.

Refer to SSC-00210-1.