Infrared spectroscopy has been widely used in numerous NASA's missions. Compared to conventional instruments, the proposed greenhouse gas imaging unit has unique advantages in cost, size, and weight. In addition, it is immune to environmental fluctuations. These advantages make it a competitive alternative, especially for application with stringent restrictions on size, weight and reliability. Besides, the imaging array can cover the whole compound spectral wavelength range. Therefore, it can also be used to identify other chemicals and materials of interest to NASA's missions.
As a direct identification method, other than greenhouse gas monitor, infrared spectroscopy is also widely used in pharmacy, biotechnology, industrial chemistry, food safety, and other environment monitoring. A typical FTS is composed of an infrared source, a Michelson interferometer (MI), a detector, and a He-Ne laser for alignment and positioning. The whole system is bulky, heavy, and sensitive to environment fluctuations (vibration,etc). These disadvantages make it mainly a laboratory-only tool with extensive human involvement, and unsuitable for field applications such as toxic gas detection in battle field, stand alone environmental monitoring, and personal food safety/allergy monitor. The proposed chip-based FTS provides a very competitive solution to these applications