The compact, short wavelength infrared (SWIR) spectrometer, or hyperspectral camera fabricated by integrating a MCT-based PD or focal plane array FPA with an AOTF, has huge potential applications in future NASA missions to Mars, Jupiter, and other space exploration missions. Besides quantitative irradiance or radiance measurements and calibrations of celestial bodies, atmospheric infrared absorption spectra, or the reflectivity of the ground soil often reveal the identity of the atmospheric composition and the mineral structures of an unknown planets, and are of significant importance to study the formation and the history of alien planets as well as monitoring and surveying different characteristics of Earth.
The infrared PDs have applications in threat warning systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) ground and airborne, including small to medium size unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and missile threat defense. This technology would also be applicable for various targeting, tracking, active pixel components, countermeasures and proximity fuse applications. Since hyperspectral detection allows for unparalleled target identification, it is expected that this technology will provide a strategic advantage in missile seekers to circumvent counter-measures. The infrared PDs and FPAs also have a wide range of civilian applications, such as telecommunication via optical fibers, spectrometry, thermometry, high-end industrial manufacturing, and hotspot detection. Larger FPAs, due to their lower costs and lightweight characteristics, will have applications in astronomy, geophysics, geology, law enforcement, remote environmental sensing, search and rescue, and emergency response including firefighting. If multistage thermo-electric coolers are used, the product would also have applications for medical systems, commercial airlines, and ground transportation.