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Hyperspectral imaging spectroradiometer MR-i

Radiometric accuracy for infrared signature measurements

With over 40  years of innovation and being recognized as a world leader in spectroscopy, ABB is expanding its line of remote sensing products with a newly developed FT-IR hyperspectral imaging spectroradiometer operating in the infrared.

Based on the MR-Series product line, the MR-I offers accurate spatial, temporal (rapid scanning), spectral and radiometric information of infrared targets.

The hyperspectral MR Series of spectroradiometers are composed of a FTIR Michelson interferometer configured with dual output ports used to simultaneously cover the LWIR and the MWIR + SWIR spectral range. These ruggedized instruments ideal solution for a wide range of applications:


  • Scientific research
  • Military infrared target characterization
  • Imaging...
  • Chemical agents signature measurements,
  • Industrial emission monitoring.

The MR-i is the only imaging spectroradiometer solution on the market offering:


  • Wide spectral range (1–15 µm), covering LWIR to NIR
  • High spectral resolution, (1 cm−1) equivalent to a filter radiometer with over 9000 channels
  • High radiometric accuracy and stability of response over a wide dynamic range
  • High NESR sensitivity, allowing characterizing weak signal in short time periods
  • High dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio;
  • High time resolution through fast scanning, allowing measurement of the evolution of rapidly varying target signatures
  • High spatial resolution with extended FOV homogeneity, leading to better accuracy no matter where the target is in the FOV
  • High reliability: Compact and portable for easy deployment in field operation and airborne operation

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Spectral coverage

MR-i technology

While conventional mono-pixel FT-IR spectroradiometers offer unique performance such as higher spectral resolution and enhanced sensitivity over the instrument field of view (FOV), multi-pixel FT-IR hyperspectral imagers now extend possibilities in infrared characterization. They provide accurate spatial characterization of a target’s signature by spatially resolving the essential characteristics over the observed scene.

The captured data is further exploited by combining the spectral and spatial information of the scene. As a result, an FT-IR imaging spectroradiometer has the unique capability of generating 3D images (2D images with spectral bands in the Z axis) providing a spectrum with every pixel of the mapped scene.

Schematized imaging Fourier transform spectroradiometer

MR-i hypercube measured at a single moment in time

Wide spectral range

Covering the three main atmospheric windows with a single instrument, from 1.5 to 14 µm, extends the range of possible applications, from infrared characterization to gas detection.

The MR-i imaging spectroradiometer is composed of a dual input and output ports Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Michelson interferometer. The 4 ports configuration allows the simultaneous data acquisition from two complementary cryogenic detectors (MCT and InSb) to cover the long- to the short-wave spectral range (LWIR, MWIR & SWIR) for optimal SNR out of every measurement. The two detectors are completely independent from each other’s and feature their own lenses, filter holder and field stop aperture wheel so each detector are optimized for best performances.

  • 2 – 15 μm [667 – 5,000 cm−1] with optional extension to 1 μm [10 000 cm−1] available
  • The FTIR technology allows the equivalent up to 9000 spectral bands per spectrum

See MR-Series Spectral Range.

The MR-i dual detector broad spectral range

Dual-camera configuration

The MR-i is the first commercially available FT-IR hyperspectral imaging spectoradiometer capable of dual-camera operation, simultaneously covering the MWIR and LWIR of the electromagnetic spectrum. The MR-i 4-port interferometer can accommodate a combination of two different types of camera modules (MWIR/LWIR), extending the instrument spectral range coverage or a combination of two identical camera modules (MWIR/MWIR), extending the instrument dynamic range. With this unique feature, the MR-i is capable of simultaneously acquiring and perfectly synchronizing the data  of two interchangeable camera modules, making the instrument adaptable to multiple measurement scenarios.

Configuring the MR-i with two detection modules is like combining the functions of two imaging spectroradiometers in a single instrument, providing the following advantages:

  • Perfect synchronization of both cameras;
  • Ease of operation using one user interface;
  • Lower acquisition cost;
  • Lower maintenance costs.
  • Easily interchangeable modules and fully adjustable settings

Sensitivity / extended dynamic range

Some applications such as targeting an infrared signature often require simultaneous measurements of low and high intensity emission sources randomly dispersed over the mapped scene. The signal-to-noise performance of each individual detection module is affected by the integration time of the camera. Setting the integration time in respect to the energy level of the hot pixels will negatively impact the signal-to-noise performance of the cold pixels in the scene. On the other hand, having the integration time pre-set for maximum signal-to-noise performance of the cold pixels will cause saturation on the hot pixels.

The MR-i offers an unmatched sensitivity for the characterization of a target’s IR signature. With both ports equipped with detector modules covering the same spectral range (MWIR- MWIR or LWIR-LWIR), they can be individually set to different gains or integration time to extend the dynamic range of the instrument. This greatly enhances the brightest and faintest areas of the observed scene.


Fast scanning data acquisition rate

The MR-i is the fastest commercially available FT-IR imaging spectroradiometer ever built. It generates the highest datacube measurement rate on the market. The MR-i is equipped with state-of-the-art cameras modules capable of the highest frame measurement rate available and is perfectly suited for the characterization of fast moving and rapidly evolving targets.

of both camera modules in a single instrument generates an unprecedented measurement rate and provides the best combination of spectral coverage, dynamic range, time resolution and spatial resolution performance ever seen on a COTS FT-IR imaging spectroradiometer instrument.

Differential optical subtraction

The MR-i can be configured with a linear array multi-pixel sensor optimised for differential acquisition in the VLWIR (cut off near 14 µm). For this configuration, the instrument is equipped with a dual-input telescope capable of optical background subtraction. The resulting signal is the differential between the  spectral radiance entering each input port, eliminating the clutter impact of the background. This specific configuration has been designed to support scientific research related to stand-off detection and identification of chemical agent threats.

Modular / self-configurable instrument

The MR-i can easily adapt to multiple applications. It is designed with user-configurable modular architecture, providing the user with the flexibility to adapt the instrument  to the characteristics of a specific measurement scenario.  The MR-i can be reconfigured by the user without the need for re-calibration or factory reworks by simply interchanging or combining various detection modules or input telescopes.

FT-IR Spectroradiometry Applications

From scientific research to deployable operational solutions, Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroradiometry has been established as an ideal technology to develop and enhance various military applications. For the defense industry, FT-IR spectroradiometry is used for:

  • Camouflage system development and thermal signature optimization;
  • Characterization of thermal emission signatures of aircraft engines;
  • Development, analysis and improvement of IR decoy emission spectra and advanced counter-measure systems;
  • Classifying fugitive emissions for developing infrared signature databases;
  • Classifying battlespace detonations, including bomb-hit detonation, muzzle flash, and missile launches;
  • Remote sensing of battlefield conditions for developing various deployable reconnaissance solutions.

Heritage of 20 years of imaging FTS projects at ABB
  • DEFENSE: Troops and strategic resources protection;
  • ENVIRONMENT: Detection and identification of pollutants
  • CIVIL SECURITY: Surveillance and security


This powerful and innovative technique extends engineering modeling applications. It is also used to improve various types of IR emitting sources. FT-IR imaging spectroradiometers provide key information for modeling IR emitted source of energy and mapping the spatial evolution of the radiance.

Combining the imaging spectroradiometer radiance measurement with retrieval algorithms enables the mapping of various atmospheric applications such as:

  • Meteorological turbulence sounding;
  • Atmospheric composition analysis;
  • Stand-off detection and monitoring of a chemical cloud.

IR characterization and modeling of a rocket plume

MR-Series Heritage

ABB designed multiple passive FT-IR radiometers based on high-resolution Fourier-Transform spectrometry for spaceborne applications. Today, ABB technology is used in various satellites for remote sensing applications such as:

  • Earth observation;
  • Climatology;
  • Atmospheric sounding.

.In spacecraft, ABB FT-IR radiometers are used to detect, identify and quantify each distinct species of gas in our atmosphere, based on the characteristics of their respective IR signatures.

For over four decades, ABB has dominated the market by offering a comprehensive portfolio of highly reliable, rugged and field-proven FT-IR spectroradiometers used for various remote sensing applications.

20 years ago, ABB introduced the MR-Series FT-IR spectroradiometer for defense and atmospheric research organizations. There are now over 150 instruments routinely used throughout the world.

MR-Series spectroradiometers have earned an excellent reputation based on:

  • Exceptionally high radiometric reproducibility;
  • Wavelength accuracy;
  • High sensitivity;
  • High spectral resolution;
  • Field operation reliability.


The new MR-i

The MR-i is built from the same proven technology and 4-port FT-IR configuration as used in the MR-Series spectroradiometers. ABB incorporated all the lessons learned and experience gained from the MR series when developing the new MR-i hyperspectral imaging spectroradiometer. This new spectroradiometer  includes:

  • Newly developed acquisition and post-processing software modules;
  • State-of-the-art IR cameras;
  • Improved optical configuration adapted for best imaging performances;
  • Our latest digitalization algorithms (time sampling).
Consult the MR-i Series Datasheet to see complete specifications and instrument details.
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