Preliminary results from infrared multilayer filters and materials exposed to the space environment on the NASA LDEF mission

  • Gary J. Hawkins, Roger Hunneman, John S. Seeley
  • October 1990, SPIE
  • DOI: 10.1117/12.22348

Infrared Filters on the NASA LDEF

What is it about?

Infrared optical multilayer filters and materials were exposed to the space environment of low Earth orbit for a period of nearly six years on the NASA Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) mission. This paper describes the effects of that environment on the physical and optical properties of filters and materials used in an experiment designed by the University of Reading Infrared Multilayer Laboratory.

Why is it important?

This experiment was to expose infrared multilayer interference filters of novel design, construction and manufacture for sensing atmospheric composition and temperature to space radiation. The optical behaviour of these filters when in space being unconfirmed previously, but crucial to their performance.


Dr Gary J Hawkins
University of Reading

The effects of space exposure on the high performance atmospheric sensing filters we flew on LDEF were negligible. Spectral measurements revealed no significant changes in either the transmission or position of any of the hard coated II VI / PbTe based multilayers deposited on Germanium, or any changes in the hard uncoated crystal substrates. The physical and optical properties of the softer materials were adversly affected by the long space exposure, ranging from a reduced transmission to complete opacity.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Gary J Hawkins