The success of the Athena proof of concept program lead to a contract with the US Army and SOCOM to develop a Helios prototype flyable LWIR hyperspectral camera for the detection of gas phase chemical warfare agents.
Helios is the smallest infrared hyperspectral camera ever developed. Based on the lenslet array technology enabled such a small, light weight infrared hyperspectral camera. In addition the parallel spectral image collection removes temporal variation in the scene that can affect the identification algorithms
Helios is scheduled to be field tested in the summer of 2020. It will be flown on a DJI Metrice 600 drone that will be stabilized to allow hyperspectral data cubes to be collected of gas phase targets on the ground. The gas identification will be performed using spectral analysis from the hyperspectral data cube.
Miniature electronics integrated with the sensor will perform pre-processing of the data and down link to a ground station where post processing will complete the identification process.
The lenslet arrays are fabricated by a photo-lithographic process and thus can be mass produced and low cost. Shown here is a wafer showing several 2x2 lenslet arrays that will be diced to produce the optical elements that will be integrated into the Helios miniature infrared hyperspectral camera
The lenslet array optics are smaller than a nickle
The lenslet array sits in the baffle that will be integrated with the cold-shield
The lenslet array assembly ready to be integrated with the FPA