An imager based upon an etched liquid-crystal Fabry-Perot (LCFP) dispersive element is able to simultaneously sample
four distinct resolution elements in the region 800 nm - 1100 nm, and tune in milliseconds to any one of 30,661 possible
four-color scene images with a spectral resolution of 0.67 nm. Independently tunable quadrants of a single LCFP etalon
are created by etching a transparent conducting layer on the etalon substrate, and one image from each quadrant is
formed on a focal-plane array detector. Designed to weigh less than 20 lbs. in production, the portable, solid-state
camera system is designed to provide fast RGB images of transient spectral phenomena, but many applications are
possible. The fourth image in each four-element image is intended to be a background channel for contrast
enhancement in bright background environments.
The LCFP hyperspectral imager provides high-spectral resolution, allowing detection of short-lifetime atomic spectral
line emissions characteristic of excited or ablating constituents against a bright, broadband, greybody background. High
luminosity via the characteristic Fabry-Perot étendue advantage and an f/0.9 optical system accommodate the tactical
need for a lightweight device with a small footprint. The LCFP dispersive element is tuned with battery-pack power, 0-
10V DC and mA current.
The LCFP hyperspectral technology is easily adapted to Doppler imaging by enhancing the etalon gap and sampling
over a narrower instrument passband. Operation in the MWIR and LWIR is also possible. The camera design creates
multi-spectral images with a small but simultaneously sampled data-cube of narrow bandwidth.