Abstract

This paper is a review of the historical development of the Michelson interferometer into modern-day Fourier transform spectrometry (FTS) used for upper atmospheric emission studies in the near IR. For the period of the last decade, the focus of the review is upon USAF/USU interferometric instruments. Michelson invented the “cross beam” interferometer in 1880; however, the first interferogram was not reported until that of Wood in 1911. Fellgett deduced the multiplex advantage in 1949. By the early 1950s, both Jacquinot and Rupert had pointed out the throughput advantage, and Fellgett and Strong had each obtained Fourier transforms of interferograms. In 1959, J. Connes and Gush obtained a spectrum of the nighttime IR airglow in 30 min using a Michelson interferometer. In 1962 Gush and Buijs flew an interferometer aboard a balloon to obtain spectra from the airglow. Mertz and M. Block developed a commercial Michelson interferometer in about 1959. L. Block of AFCRL flew a Michelson interferometer aboard a satellite in 1962. In 1965, Connes and Connes obtained high-resolution spectra of planets using cat’s-eye retroreflectors coupled with an interferometrically controlled step and integrate method. NASA successfully flew an interferometer aboard a satellite in 1969, which led to including FTS experiments on the planetary probes. In 1965 Tukey and Cooley published their FFT computer program based upon the algorithm of Good. AFGL/USU applied the FFT algorithm to FTS that same year. Stair launched a rocketborne liquid-He cooled interferometer in 1976 which obtained spectra of earth limb emissions. Mertz in 1959 approached field-of-view widening of an interferometer using variable thickness glass compensator plates. Baker and his USU staff used the Connes-Bouchareine compensation method to develop a series of wide-angle Michelson interferometers (WAMIs) for airglow and auroral studies. In 1973, they created a cryogenic WAMI to obtain an IR airglow spectrum in only 10 sec. A rocketborne version was successfully flown to obtain airglow spectra in 1979. This instrument took a 2-cm−1 interferogram in 1 sec., used a liquid-He cooled detector to cover the 2–8-μm range, and the NESR was 3 × 10−13 W cm−2 sr−1/cm−1 at 5 μm.

© 1981 Optical Society of America

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