Field-Widened Fourier Transform Spectrometer

1996 – 1997
  • James (Jim) Monson
  • Robert P Wolf

The Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) is a widely-used instrument for spectral analysis of thermal sources. The interferometry based FTS has a limited field-of-view (FOV). Gencorp/Aerojet has contracted the Harvey Mudd College Engineering/Physics Clinic team to determine the feasibility of a field-widened FTS. Extensive research has been carried out towards the understanding of both internal and external FOV constraints of the FTS. The focus on internal constraints has led to several interferometry design approaches; the most promising design utilizes a mechanically deformable cat?s eye mirror, which in place of the traditional plane moving mirror, allows for change in the curvature of the mirror as the cat’s eye is moved. Alternate designs include lens focusing systems and the addition of dispersive media. The team explored these prospective designs for a field-widened system through feasibility studies and performance evaluations.

The Physics Clinic presents opportunities for students to work on practical projects relevant to industrial work. Students work on teams of 3–5 on a sponsored research or development project.