The proposed instrument can server as a compact visible, infrared, or multi-band spectrometer with ultra-compact form factor and superior speed, without compromising resolution, in size, weight and power (SWaP)-constrained systems such as micro-satellites, small airborne vehicles or rovers. By using foundry-fabricated silicon-based microchips for parts of the instrument, the manufacturing costs may be reduced through scalable manufacturing of integrated photonics. Miniature infrared spectrometers can be used for monitoring the Earth's atmosphere, including CO2 and methane, among other important gases, or for future planetary and comet explorers.
The proposed instrument may have applications in breath analysis, medical diagnostics, forensics, rapid disaster recovery and threat analysis, commercial geospatial studies, pollution mapping and environmental quality monitors. Together with compact lasers, micro-spectrometers may be used for ranging and material compositional studies of static or moving targets, both for the civilian and the defense industries. Microtek has previously developed compact spectrometers for commercial companies which have diverse applications in these and other areas.