Accurate, long-term solar spectral irradiance (SSI) measurements are vital for interpreting how solar variability impacts Earth’s climate and for validating climate model sensitivities to spectrally varying solar forcing. The Compact Spectral Irradiance Monitor (CSIM) 6U CubeSat successfully launched on Dec. 3rd, 2018 as part of the SpaceX SSO-A: SmallSat Express Mission ultimately achieving a sun-synchronous 575 km orbit. CSIM brings new, emerging technology advancements to maturation by demonstrating the unique capabilities of a complete SSI mission with inherent low mass and compact design. The instrument is a compact, two-channel prism spectral radiometer incorporating Si, InGaAs, and extended InGaAs focal plane photodiodes to record the solar spectrum daily across a continuous wavelength region spanning 200 – 2800 nm (>97% of the total solar irradiance). A new, novel electrical substitution radiometer (ESR) using vertically aligned carbon-nanotube (VACNT) bolometers serves as an absolute detector for periodic on-orbit spectral calibration corrections. Pre-launch component level performance characterizations and final instrument end-to-end absolute calibration achieved low combined standard uncertainty (uc<0.5%) in irradiance. These calibrations were performed in the LASP Spectral Radiometer Facility (SRF), a comprehensive spectral irradiance calibration facility utilizing a tunable laser system tied to an SI-traceable cryogenic radiometer. On-orbit, optical degradation corrections to better than 0.05% / year uncertainty are achieved by comparing periodic, simultaneous solar measurements of the two CSIM channels operating with significantly different solar exposure duty cycles. Operational overlap of CSIM with existing SSI measurements validate concepts for maintaining critical long-term solar data records.
The long-term balance between Earth’s absorption of solar energy and emission of radiation to space is a fundamental climate measurement. Total solar irradiance (TSI) has been measured from space, uninterrupted, for the past 40 years via a series of instruments. The Compact Total Irradiance Monitor (CTIM) is a CubeSat instrument that will demonstrate next-generation technology for monitoring total solar irradiance. It includes novel silicon-substrate room temperature vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) bolometers. The CTIM, an eight-channel 6U CubeSat instrument, is being built for a target launch date in late 2020. The basic design is similar to the SORCE, TCTE and TSIS Total Irradiance Monitors (TIM). Like TSIS TIM, it will measure the total irradiance of the Sun with an uncertainty of 0.0097% and a stability of <0.001%/year. The underlying technology, including the silicon substrate VACNT bolometers, has been demonstrated at the prototype-level. During 2019 we will build and test an engineering model of the detector subsystem. Following the testing of the engineering detector subsystem, we will build a flight detector unit and integrate it with a 6U CubeSat bus during late 2019 and 2020, in preparation for an on-orbit demonstration in 2021.
Primary standards of optical radiation total radiant flux are traditionally realized by absolute cryogenic radiometers  working on the principle of electrical substitution with a relative total uncertainty of 1e-4 in the power measurement. The current cryogenic radiometers though operate over a limited spectral range, usually from 350 nm to 800 nm and working with free space beam. For fibre optics telecom spectral range 1300 nm - 1650 nm this scale is then extended in several steps, typically via application of other standard detector systems such as spectrally flat room temperature pyro detectors  and spectrally dependent temperature stabilized solid state detectors , which adversely affects the scale accuracy by a factor of approximately one order of magnitude. The typical relative total uncertainty of state-of-the-art transfer standard fibre coupled detectors reaches 0.5 %.
Recently published results on planar electrical-substitution carbon nanotube cryogenic radiometer (PCBR)  brought the opportunities for using these systems as new absolute primary standards in telecom spectral range directly in fibre coupled configuration. This shortens the traceability chain, with a potential improvement in the total uncertainty to below 0.1 %. CMI in collaboration with NIST are developing the first prototypes of fibre coupled PCBR systems. First both free space and fibre coupled measurements have confirmed radiometric The paper will present both the core physical parameters of these PCBR electrical-substitution systems and initial results including the currently achieved agreement of traditional transfer standards with the PCBR at the level of 0.2 %.
The work reported in this abstract was partially funded by project EMPIR 14IND13 PhotInd. This project has received funding from the EMPIR programme co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
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