TRACER – Chemical Mapping Camera

Low-cost/high-performance spectral imaging in the thermal infrared ‘fingerprint’ of many hazardous chemicals.

TRACER (Thermal IR, Reconfigurable Analysis Camera for Effluents and Residues) is a prototype of a novel Dispersive Transform Spectroscopy (DTS) technology developed at SSI. Using a single, fast photodetector for image formation to replace a ~10x more costly thermal IR focal plane array, TRACER can detect hazardous chemicals using the infrared fingerprint region. TRACER has been demonstrated for detection of both gaseous chemical solvents and explosive solids.

TRACER is a compact, battery operated, stand-alone device that utilizes a Microelectronic Mechanical System (MEMS) device for spectral and spatial selection. The system produces spectrally encoded and compressed data that can be rapidly processed to form a detection map of chemical species within the imager field-of-view.

TRACER is operable in two modes: a full-spectrum acquisition mode, and a fast, chemical-specific spectral matched filter mode. The matched filter is directly encoded in the instrument’s response, thereby achieving optimum light collection and real-time output of chemical abundance in the field-of-view.
The TRACER prototype was developed under a Defense Threat Reduction Agency Rapid Innovation Fund award in 2012-2014, as part of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. SSI is actively seeking a partner to identify a target market for TRACER-like systems and complete development of an operational device.

TRACER hyperspectral imager. Spectral range: LWIR 7.5 µm to 12.5 µm.

technical Contact

Dr. Marsha Fox