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Hyperspectral MR Series FTIR spectroradiometers

Radiometric accuracy for infrared signature measurements

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:


  • Military infrared target characterization
  • Atmospheric composition analysis and meteorological sounding
  • Chemical agents signature measurements,
  • Industrial emission monitoring.

The MR Series of spectroradiometers have earned an excellent reputation based on exceptional performance, with the following system advantages:


  • 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
  • Fast scanning, allowing measurement of the evolution of rapidly varying target signatures
  • Extended FOV homogeneity, leading to better accuracy no matter where the target is in the FOV
  • Compact and portable for easy deployment in field operation and airborne operation

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Spectral coverage

MR Series FTIR Spectroradiometers

The MR Series are the leading field infrared spectroradiometers both in terms of performance and reliability, with undisputed market dominance since its introduction in 1989 (more than 150 systems installed worldwide). The MR Series of spectroradiometers have earned a high reputation based on exceptionally high spectral resolution and radiometric reproducibility, wavelength accuracy, and sensitivity.

The performance superiority of the FTIR technology combined with the high radiometric accuracy made the MR series became the preferred FTIR spectroradiometer. As some of our clients said, they choose the ABB MR Series because it is the instrument of choice capable of providing spectral measurements precision within their expectations. In particular, the high resolution provides narrow spectral structure in the infrared radiation domain highly critical to military characterization needs.The MR spectroradiometers series were adopted by several defense research organizations around the world (in operation in more than 20 countries).

Superior design

For smooth and efficient field trials or measurement campaigns, equipment reliability and confidence in instrument performance is mandatory. Robustness and durability differentiate the MR series spectroradiometers from other commercial FTIR spectroradiometers. The rotary scanning mechanism uses frictionless flex-pivots and corner-cube-retroreflectors. The interferometer design has been proven with more than 3600 units produced and over 400 billion of scan cycles successfully  achieved. The permanently aligned interferometer (patented rotary scanning mechanism) shows both outstanding stability of radiometric response and high reliability. Since it is balanced with respect to its center of rotation, the MR interferometer can be operated in any orientation (useful for airborne operation).



  • Dual input and output ports, allowing simultaneous acquisition from two detectors
  • Available with liquid nitrogen cooled detectors (MR304LN, MR170)
    or with internal Stirling cooled detectors (MR304SC)
  • Wide choice of telescopes, boresighting devices and accessories

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 Series 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

Fine spectral resolution

All MR Series products feature (computer controlled) adjustable spectral resolution from 32 cm–1 up to 1 cm–1 at all frequencies as well as adjustable gains. This corresponds to a resolution of 22.4 nm at 15 µm and 0.1 nm at 1 µm. This outstanding resolution is achieved in less than 2 sec of observation time, with a  rapid scanning measurement rate above 100 Hz.
This configurable spectral resolution opens up different measurement scenarios, from chemical discrimination of targets components to a high temporal resolution of a rapidly changing infrared emitted event. High resolution provides narrow spectral structure in the infrared radiation domain highly critical to military characterization needs.

Unrivaled radiometric accuracy

Rapidly evolving targets such as plane, rocket, flare, missile or explosion are moving fast over space and typically have unstable radiated intensity. This make it difficult to capture the emitted energy with an acceptable level of radiometric accuracy, while being the most important parameter to characterize.

Since its origin in early 1980’s at Bomem Inc., the FTIR spectroradiometers have been designed for that purpose and keep being improved over the last decades in the form of the high-end MR Series to provide our customer to optimal quantification of unknown targets, or characterization of known scenes.


Spectral bands relative accuracy for consistent spectral energy distribution

Rapidly evolving targets measurements requires very short measurement time. Moreover, all the spectral bands should be measured simultaneously to ensure sound spectral relative intensity. Filter based spectroradiometers measure the spectral bands consecutively. This can lead to spectral band relative intensity errors as the target radiant intensity changes during the measurement time.

The MR series FTIR spectroradiometer technology is ideal for keeping a good relative agreement between the spectral bands since all the wavelengths are measured simultaneously through the measurement time.

Field of view response uniformity for accurate measurements of moving targets

Long distances, or small targets do not necessarily fill the instrument field of view (FOV). Besides, the target can move into the field of view during an acquisition. A small non uniformity over the FOV combined with a moving or unstable target can lead to strong impact in terms of radiometric accuracy. This is why the response of the system over the FOV needs to be uniform, regardless of the position or size of the target.

The MR304 optical configuration provides the best field of view uniformity of the market and have highest standards to pass the uniformity criteria. The uniformity of response is specified at ±7.5% over 85% of the FOV. Each MR304 are tested for the uniformity of response across the FOV.

Linearity of response

The MR series spectroradiometers are configured with MCT and InSb photovoltaic detectors providing a wide dynamic range where the detector response function is linear. The amplification, electronic gain and analog to digital converter are adjusted to operate the detectors in their linear response range.

The linear response function of the instrument provides a radiometric stability over the spectroradiometer dynamic range, which prevents spectral distortion and radiometric errors to occur.

Spectro-temporal measurements for phenomenon discrimination

Each target has its own spectral and temporal signature. For some applications such as pyrotechnics flares development, or launch phases analyses of rocket, the knowledge of the spectro-temporal evolution is the key. For instance the infrared spectral signature of a rocket evolves over time due to the different combustion phases. Precise knowledge of the infrared signature phenomenology is a key element for discrimination between targets and decoys.

The figure below presents MR304 measurements of a Canadian rocket engine exhaust signature. It provides a good example of the radiometric error associated to consecutive spectral band measurements. As it can be seen, the spectrum features high and low energy spectral bands. The rocket emitted energy vary greatly within fraction of a second, so the spectral band intensity measured at time zero will not be in a good relative scale with the spectral band intensity measured at a later time. This is where the large dynamic range of this instrument greatly helps to capture the elusive characteristics of the observed phenomenon.

The rapid measurement rate of the MR spectroradiometer provides an accurate quantification on the evolution of the rocket emitted radiation. The simultaneous high spectral resolution measurement  provides an accurate proportion and definition of the emitted chemical infrared signature involved during the rocket plume combustion.

MR Series key features allowing accurate measurements of infrared signatures:

  • High signal to noise performance, or low noise equivalent spectral radiance (NESR)
  • High measurement rate
  • Fine spectral resolution
  • Wide dynamic range

Wide range of applications

The MR Series ruggedized instruments are the ideal solution for:

  • Military IR target characterization
  • Atmospheric composition analysis and  meteorological sounding
  • Industrial emission monitoring
  • Chemical agents signature measurement
  • Fugitive gas detection and identification.

Defense & Security tool of choice

MR Series Spectroradiometers have specifically been developed for the following applications:

  • Characterization of thermal emission signatures of targets such as: airplanes, missiles, rockets, helicopters, drones, ground vehicles, ships, etc.
  • Development, analysis and improvement of IR decoy emission spectra and advanced heat seekers counter-measure systems
  • Spectral characterization of camouflage systems and thermal signature optimization
  •  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
  • Countermeasure IRCM/IRCCM

The MR Series of spectroradiometers are scientific tools
primarily used for the spectral characterization
of a multitude of infrared emitted phenomena

Capturing fast moving targets

Rapidly evolving targets are moving in space and / or feature unstable radiated intensity. They are often a combination of unstable radiated energy and unstable position in space, which make it difficult to capture the emitted energy with good radiometric accuracy.

Considering a plane, a rocket, a missile, a flare or explosions as examples, the targets are moving in position within the instrument FOV and its radiant intensity and spatial size change over time. Explosions remain at the same location but the size and the radiated intensity varies over time.

Rapid characterization using simultaneous bands

Rapidly evolving targets measurements need very short measurement interval of time and measurement of all the spectral bands simultaneously so the relative intensity of all the spectral bands remain in good agreements. Measurement of the spectral bands consecutively (i.e. filter based spectroradiometer) can lead to spectral band relative intensity errors as the target radiant intensity changes during the measurement time.

The MR series FTIR spectroradiometer technology is ideal for keeping a good relative agreement between the spectral bands since all the wavelengths are measured simultaneously through the measurement time.

Whether your applications call for a simple spectroradiometer or for a sophisticated optical measurement system, MR304 and MR170 instruments are a sound investment


The MR304 is the ideal measurement solution for the spectral characterization of scenes emitting low intensity energy and fast moving targets. It features very high sensitivity, superior time resolution, stable instrument response function (IRF), combined with and a high uniformity of response across its FOV for improved measurement accuracy, whether the target is centered on the field of view or close to the edge.

The fast-scanning capability of the MR304 allows characterizing flares and other rapidly evolving scenes such as explosions. With a time resolution down to 12 ms, it can accurately measure the spectral signature of any emission sparks lasting more than that minute interval. Moreover, the high modulation rate provides immunity from acoustic noise and source fluctuations.

The MR304 instrument is ideally suited for accurate measurements of the spectral signature of a variety of moving targets like for example:

  • Missiles and rocket engines
  • Airplanes, helicopters & drones
  • Ground vehicles
  • Ships, etc.

The MR304 modular design and small footprint make it well suited for airborne applications, use on tracking systems or in other restricted areas.


The MR170 is similar as the MR304 but with lower measurement rate capabilities, and with the FOV response homogeneity not being characterized at time of delivery. It is a high performance spectral measurement instrument with moderate time resolution and high sensitivity designed for stationary or slow evolving phenomena (stable scenes that will fill the instrument FOV).

This spectroradiometer is a very precise and robust solution for the following uses:

  • Surface emissivity study and material classification
  • Characterization of background infrared signatures
  • Detection of toxic and pollutant gases
  • Atmospheric sounding

The high accuracy and stability has made the MR170 the reference for infrared spectral measurements of clear sky radiance, characterization of the spectral radiative forcing from clouds, thermodynamic research, aerosols study, and weather forecasting. Configured as an ABB AERI system it provides autonomous humidity and temperature atmospheric profiles with outstanding accuracy.

The systems consist of a FTIR spectroradiometer with two input and two output ports. The system features simultaneous data acquisition from the two output ports (configured with liquid nitrogen cooled MCT and InSb detectors). One input port is used to fix a reference cancellation source. The other input port is designed to receive an input telescope and a viewing device. The MR170 provides a sound radiometric solution at a comprehensive price.

Coolers configuration

  • The MR304-LN is equipped with liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooled detectors.
  • The MR304-SC is equipped with Stirling cooled detectors.
  • The MR170 is equipped with liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooled detectors

Modularity to address various targets

Various options are possible with the spectroradiometers to cover a broad range of needs. Spectral range can be configured to cover long to near infrared regions and tailored for application needs. A range of telescopes is available to cover the range of applications from near to far field of views.

Both MR304 and MR170 spectroradiometers feature the following accessories:

  • Computer control spectral resolution adjustment up to 1 cm–1
  • Dual MCT / InSb cryogenic detectors for the simultaneous LWIR, MWIR, SWIR and NIR spectral coverage
  • Photovoltaic MCT and InSb detectors with linear response function provide constant spectroradiometer radiometric instrument response function
  • Each detector is equipped with a variable field stop aperture and filter holder
  • Telescopes, viewing devices and tripod are available to optimize experimental measurement of various scenarios

The secret of the MR Series versatility is based on its ability to be configured with a vast choice of modular assemblies and accessories. ABB will help you configure your system to meet the special requirements of your most demanding applications.

=> Consult the MR Series Brochure to see complete specifications and instrument details.

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