Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of SPIE



Publication Date



Recent broadband observations by the SABER sensor aboard the TIMED satellite hint at intriguing new vibrationrotation excitation and loss processes that occur in the energy dissipation of the ionosphere-thermosphere as it responds to solar storms. To address the questions exposed by the SABER data, SDL’s field-widened interferometer has been brought back after three decades to again fly into or above aurorally disturbed atmosphere to gain the data needed to better understand the different processes of ionosphere-thermosphere energetics. The paper discusses the evaluation and design phases (laboratory evaluation, a rocket flight, and a satellite flight) needed to prepare this elegant and unique interferometer to reach its goal of making high resolution (0.5 cm-1) and wide bandwidth (1300- 8000 cm-1) measurements of the ionosphere-thermosphere world-wide. Design details of interferometer will be presented along with comparisons between a standard Michelson interferometer and the field-widened sensor to illustrate just how the Bounchareine and Connes field-widened form provides the enhanced performance needed for the new missions. The paper also describes how the improved Inferometer design will leverage advances in modern electronics, detectors, bearing design and software to gain significant improvements in the performance of the upgraded field-widened interferometer-spectrometer when compared to the heritage instrument.