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High resolution heterodyne spectroscopy for studies of planetary atmospheres

Scientific organization
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Academic degree
candidate of science
Deputy dean
Scientific discipline
Physics & Astronomy
High resolution heterodyne spectroscopy for studies of planetary atmospheres
Heterodyne receivers are widely used in radio and microwave astronomy due to high sensitivity and unprecedented spectral resolution. Recent progress in semiconductor lasers and fiber optics has made it possible to expand heterodyne method to shorter wavelengths, including near-infrared spectral range. High resolution spectral radiometry in the fundamental ro-vibrational bands of atmospheric species provides a unique opportunity to detect minor components at ppt level, as well as to implement direct Doppler wind velocity measurements.
planets, atmospheres, heterodyne, spectroscopy, infrared

We present a review of activities of the Applied Infrared Spectroscopy lab (AIRS) on high resolution heterodyne spectroscopy targeting sensitive studies of structure, composition, and dynamics of planetary atmospheres. Heterodyne method allows for unprecedented spectral resolution \(\lambda / \delta \lambda \approx 10^8\) and signal-to-noise ratio close to the quantum limit. Its implementation in ground-based astronomy by several research groups in the US, Germany, and Japan has already provided valuable information about dynamics and composition of the atmospheres of terrestrial planets. New ideas implemented at AIRS resulted in the development of a series of instruments whose scientific objectives vary from greenhouse gas monitoring to in situ sounding of the Martian atmosphere from landing platform in the near-infrared spectral range by direct Sun observation. In addition, a novel instrument for ground-bsed astronomy is being developed. The instrument employs quantum cascade lasers as heterodyne and broadband mixer based on superconducting hot electron bolometer with optical antenna. Coupling local oscillator with the signal received from a telescope is provided by a single mode fiber coupler based on fused halcogenide optical fiber. Future development will allow to implement these technologies and engineering solution onboard Earth orbiting satellites and interplanetary spacecraft.