A Small, Light, Weight, Low Power, Low Cost, FT-IR Spectrometer

Period of Performance: 09/22/1998 - 09/21/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

On-line Technologies, Inc.
87 Church St
East Hartford, CT 06108
Principal Investigator


Phase I demonstrated a FT-IR prototype with equal spee, resolution, (S/N), and size, but with lower weight, lower cost, better thermal stability and lower velocity error compared to On-Line's commercial instrument. The new prototype demonstrated: I) For the mirror translation system, a factor of 10 reduction in cost (from $1,200 to $120) and a factor of 14 recuction in power consumption (from 0.5 watts to 0.035 watts); and ii) A factor of 60% improvement in the weight of the enclosure/optical bench with significant additional improvements expected in Phase II. The prototype was demonstrated at the U.S. Army Missile Defense and Space Technology Center (MDSTC) and displayed excellent stability when lifted, rotated upside down and vertically, shaken, and shocked. On-Line's process FT-IR can operated at 0.5 cm(- 1) resolution and has demonstrated comparable signal-to-noise to the best laboratory instrument where signal-to-noise is at the theoretical limit. The low cost corner cube development did not result in producing a working part for the prototype, by the Phase I results demonstrated that the replication method and replication master are both sufficiently accurate. A small one-inch diameter, two piece corner cube was produced using a roof mirror and a flat mirror. The results of replicating the roof mirror are surfaces with 1/10 wave flatness and return beam accuract of better than 1 arc sec. The two pieces were assembled into a corner cube and replicated. The results show peak-to-peak flatness of the corner cube of 1/4 wave. What is required for an FT-IR component is larger substrate with sufficient accuracy and stability, and success is expected in Phase II. These Phase I results, and an analysis of the further improvements suggest that a spectrometer with the excellent characteristics of On-Line's commercial unit can be built with 15% of the weight (14.8 lbs.), 22% of the cost for a line-powered system (selling price under $4000), and 15% of the power consumption for a battery operated system (19 watts).