Prototype earth observing system using image slicer mirrors persist
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Prototype Earth observing System using Image Slicer Mirrors PERSIST . David Lee, Andy Vick, Peter Hastings, David Atkinson, Martin Black and Sandi Wilson STFC, UK Astronomy Technology Centre James Barlow and Paul Palmer Department of GeoSciences , University of Edinburgh.

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Prototype Earth observing System using Image Slicer Mirrors PERSIST

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Prototype earth observing system using image slicer mirrors persist

Prototype Earth observing System using Image Slicer MirrorsPERSIST

David Lee, Andy Vick, Peter Hastings, David Atkinson, Martin Black and Sandi Wilson

STFC, UK Astronomy Technology Centre

James Barlow and Paul Palmer

Department of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh

Presentation overview

Presentation overview

  • Introduction & Background

  • PERSIST concept

  • Description of PERSIST hardware

  • PERSIST test results


  • Summary & Conclusions

Hyperspectral imaging

Hyperspectral Imaging

  • Measurement of the concentration of atmospheric gases, such as Carbon Dioxide or Methane, is often performed using a hyperspectral imager.

  • Hyperspectral imagers typically use two technologies:

    • Push-broom spectrometers.

    • Fourier transform spectrometers.

Push broom spectrometers

Push-Broom Spectrometers

  • Push-broom spectrometers use satellite motion to scan a single slit across the scene.

  • Observation of multiple wavelength channels requires multiple spectrometers and multiple detectors.

  • Increased observing efficiency can be obtained by simultaneously observing multiple channels with one spectrometer.

Layout of a t ypical push broom spectrometer

Layout of a Typical Push-Broom Spectrometer

  • Single input slit and relay optics to sort light into three channels, e.g. O2 A-band, CO2 (weak), CO2 (strong).

  • 3 spectrometers and 3 detectors.

Layout of persist

Layout of PERSIST

  • Input field of view is 3 slits.

  • Image slicer mirror optical system relays the light to the spectrometer.

  • Band-pass filters are used to define three wavelength channels.

  • Multiple order spectrometer simultaneously observes all wavelength channels.

Persist operational concept

PERSIST operational concept

  • Push-Broom spectrometer with along track scanning.

  • Multiple slits sample the field of view.

  • Spectrometer operates with multiple diffraction orders to simultaneously observe 3 wavelengths of interest.

  • Alternatively can observe same scene 3 times to obtain a higher signal.

Jwst miri heritage

JWST MIRI heritage

  • James Webb Space Telescope has two instruments with image slicer technology

    • MIRI – image slicers designed at UK ATC

    • NIRSPEC (Astrium)

James Webb Space Telescope

MIRI Image Slicer Mirror with 21 slices


Persist objectives

PERSIST objectives

  • The purpose of the PERSIST project is to build a bench mounted prototype image slicer spectrometer with a SWIR detector system.

  • The system will demonstrate the ability to simultaneously capture three wavelength ranges (via three slices) on one detector.

  • The prototype will demonstrate the feasibility of the technology for use in an Earth Observation instrument to measure atmospheric CO2.

  • Increase TRL of multiple-order spectrometer.

Persist optical layout

PERSIST optical layout

Optical layout of persist ifu

Optical layout of PERSIST IFU

Entrance Aperture

Fold Mirror

Reimaging Lenses

Image Slicer


Bandpass Filters


Zemax optical ray trace diagram

Persist image slicer

PERSIST Image Slicer

  • Diamond machined aluminium.

  • Off-axis spherical slices.

  • Component includes input aperture.

  • Area surrounding slice will have a black mask.

Integral field module

Integral Field Module



external view

195 mm

40 mm


Integral field module with image slicer

Integral Field Module with Image Slicer

entrance aperture




of hardware

slicing mirror

mirror unit

central housing

fold mirror

lens unit

collimating lens

field-imaging lens

order-sorting filter

pupil-imaging lens

slit mask

Integral field module hardware

Integral Field module hardware

IFU housing components

Pupil baffle


Spacer tubes

Output Slit


Image Slicer

Fold Mirror

Collimator Lens

Re-imaging Lenses

Pupil Lenses

Fully assembled ifu module

Fully Assembled IFU module

Fold Mirror

Image Slicer

Lens Barrel

Output Slit

White Light Input

Output three pass bands

150 mm

Layout of output slit

Layout of output slit

Picture of IFU output slit showing the three wavelength channels

Reverse illumination to demonstrate field of view

Layout of bench spectrometer

Layout of bench spectrometer

  • Simple bench spectrometer using COTS components

  • Operates in diffraction orders 8, 5, 4.

  • Raytheon VIRGO SWIR detector.

Fold Mirror




Input Slit


Blocking Filter

Bandpass Filter


Zemax optical ray trace diagram

Persist fully assembled

PERSIST – Fully Assembled


Telescope Simulator

IFU module


Collimator Lens

Diffraction Grating

Persist layout on bench

PERSIST – Layout on Bench


Light Source


Telescope Simulator


Cooling System

Integration and test

Integration and Test

  • A wavelength scan was performed with the monochromator to look for out of band stray light.

  • Arc Lamp illumination to perform image quality checks from spectral line width.

  • IFU illuminated with white light via an integrating sphere to generate three spectra. Check area between spectra for scattered light.

  • Measurement of atmospheric spectrum.

Illumination with monochromatic light

Illumination with Monochromatic Light

Full frame image at

1600 nm

Enlarged view of the spectrum showing the spatial structure of the lamp filament

Simultaneous capture of three spectral bands

Simultaneous Capture of Three Spectral Bands

Illumination with a Filament Lamp

Uniform Illumination

1600 nm

1020 nm

2000 nm

Measurement of scattered light

Measurement of Scattered Light

Contrast enhanced image showing scattered light between spectra

Plot of intensity along a column, scattered light level is < 2 % of peak intensity

Summary of test results

Summary of Test Results

Example atmospheric spectrum

Example atmospheric spectrum

Test set-up

Plot of 1020 nm spectrum

  • Small telescope located outside lab

  • Telescope pointed directly at sun

  • Optical fibre feed to PERSIST

  • Spectrum formed shown below

Technology highlights

Technology Highlights

  • The imager slicer technology provides a compact design that may benefit future instruments.

  • Overall PERSIST performs well – low level of scattered light and no light leaks.

  • Technology applicable to a variety of wavelengths simply by changing the filters.

  • High resolution multiple order spectrometer is being built for GHOST



  • GHOST – Green House Observations of the Stratosphere and Troposphere.

  • Multiple order SWIR spectrometer is being built for use on a NASA global hawk UAV.

  • High resolution SWIR hyper-spectral imager for CO2 and CH4 measurement.

Summary conclusions

Summary & Conclusions

  • PERSIST has demonstrated the feasibility of using image slicers and multiple order spectrometers for remote sensing.

  • Performance gains are possible compared with conventional push-broom systems.

  • Enables construction of smaller instruments.

  • Technology is well suited to observation of modest swath widths and 3 – 5 wavelength channels, e.g. atmospheric CO2and CH4 observation.

Contact information

Contact Information

  • David Lee

    • [email protected]

  • Science & Technology Facilities Council



  • Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation


End of presentation


End of presentation

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