By achieving exceptionally high carrier mobility, the proposed PbS and PbSe detector array will exhibit superior uncooled detectivity and signal to noise ratio (SNR) over the spectral range of 1-5 m. Furthermore, the resulting NMIR spectrometer engine will be compact, reliable, and have high detectivity, high spectral resolution and low power consumption. Therefore, both the NMIR detector array and spectrometer engine to be developed in this program will have immediate applications for NASA's many current and future planetary missions, including in-situ composition analyses of the planetary atmospheres. The compact and high spectral resolution uncooled spectrometer engine will be an invaluable tool to actively investigate planetary atmospheres from both on-ground, such as Mars Rovers, and orbit platforms. The NMIR detector array with superior detectivity and SNR will also be an invaluable tool for both remote sensing and imaging applications from space and orbit platforms.
Industries typically rely on using a small number of high-priced IR spectrometers to handle their process-monitoring needs. Though a single system can be used to monitor several processes simultaneously through multiplexing, it is costly to set up and risky if equipment failure occurs. Compact and inexpensive IR spectrometers can be assembled to operate over the important 1-5 m spectral range by using PbS and PbSe detector arrays. Current PbS and PbSe detector arrays; however, have limitations of relatively low sensitivity and high background noise, partially due to low carrier mobility of 1-5 cm2/V-S. By significantly increasing the carrier mobility, expected to be about 500 cm2/V-S, we can produce mid-IR detector arrays and spectrometers with exceptionally high detectivity and SNR. The compact, affordable NMIR spectrometer to be developed in this program should find many commercial applications in the areas of industry process control and analytical characterization of food, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.