There are a number of potential NASA applications for the AOTF-based spectropolarimetric imaging. These include material data basing, structural validation, combustion spectroscopy, non-destructive testing of space compliant parts, and qualification of time-sensitive materials in space. As more and more missions are undertaken involving landers, diverse and accurate databases of the spectral and polarimetric characteristics of various materials will be needed to quickly and accurately identify surface solid, liquid and gaseous materials. The spectral and polarimetric data obtained via 2-dimensional spectropolarimetric imaging can be used to view warping, small fractures and other deficiencies/issues that may occur in the structure of space based mission equipment. The 2-dimensional nature of AOTF based hyperspectral imaging allows for area spectral data collection during combustion events such as in ramjet and scramjet studies. Spectropolarimetric imaging allows for the non-contact, non-destructive analysis of the surface of components. And data models will allow the qualification of time sensitive consumable items in space. For instance, the potency of pharmaceuticals. The proposed device can also be used in various missions for in situ, non-destructive analysis of dust and icy surfaces, identification of organics, atmospheric radiometry, and rheology.
The commercial product that will result from this work, an AOTF-based spectropolarimeter, has numerous non-NASA commercial applications. The spectropolarimetric system can be used in anomaly detection, countermine research, camouflage concealment and detection, and identification and discrimination of materials. Moreover, such a fast system will have varied applications in atmospheric monitoring and other commercial applications. The proposed electro- and acousto-optic will provide fast and real time information about the status of the atmosphere, thus the impact of human activities on the environment can be evaluated more quickly and more accurately. This device can help to facilitate the objectives of the Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) and the Earth Observing System (EOS). Thus the design and development of an imaging system as an outcome of the proposed research will have a multitude of applications in all sectors of life. Moreover, the instrumentation that will result from the proposed program will be immensely valuable for on-line process and feedback control and R&D in a wide variety of industries such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, pulp and paper, biotechnology, just a name a few.