Infrared emission spectra recorded by airborne or satellite spectrometers can be searched for spectral features to determine the composition of rocks on planetary surfaces. Surface materials are identified by detections of characteristic spectral bands. We show how to define whether to accept an observed spectral feature as a detection when the target material is unknown. We also use remotely sensed spectra measured by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and the Spatially Enhanced Broadband Array Spectrograph System to illustrate the importance of instrument parameters and surface properties on band detection limits and how the variation in signal-to-noise ratio with wavelength affects the bands that are most detectable for a given instrument. The spectrometer’s sampling interval, spectral resolution, signal-to-noise ratio as a function of wavelength, and the sample’s surface properties influence whether the instrument can detect a spectral feature exhibited by a material. As an example, in the 6–13-μm wavelength region, massive carbonates exhibit two bands: a very strong, broad feature at ~6.5 μm and a less intense, sharper band at ~11.25 μm. Although the 6.5-μm band is stronger and broader in laboratory-measured spectra, the 11.25-μm band will cause a more detectable feature in TES spectra.
© 2001 Optical Society of America
(120.0120) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology
(280.0280) Remote sensing and sensors : Remote sensing and sensors
(300.6340) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, infrared
(300.6490) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, surface
Laurel E. Kirkland, Kenneth C. Herr, and John W. Salisbury, "Thermal Infrared Spectral Band Detection Limits for Unidentified Surface Materials," Appl. Opt. 40, 4852-4862 (2001)