Several comments concerning the analytical relationship between measured interferograms and spectra serve to clarify some common misconceptions. A brief history traces fourier spectroscopy, beginning with Fellgett’s thesis and culminating with the Connes’ measurements. Special note is made of the fact that astronomy has served as the challenge and motivation for almost all the progress. The discussion of the present situation mentions both the commercial tangle and the general clouds that now hang over science. A simple pedantic experiment, which is described in some detail, may prove helpful in diminishing the hesitations of future scientists. The applications of fourier spectrometry in the infrared, both near and far, are already well in hand. Further application at shorter wavelengths, both visible and ultraviolet, will also be fruitful. Even though Fellgett’s advantage is not applicable, the Jacquinot and Connes advantages will prove most important. In particular, capabilities surpassing those of the conventional coudé spectrograph present an intermediate step on the path to the eventual consummation of a giant flux collector worthy of fourier spectrometry.
© 1971 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 28, 1970
Published: February 1, 1971
L. Mertz, "Fourier Spectroscopy, Past, Present, and Future," Appl. Opt. 10, 386-389 (1971)