Instrument Development

By its nature, remote sensing is an interdisciplinary area of research, so MIRSL students and staff confront many engineering challenges in developing their research instrumentation.  Establishing a connection between electromagnetics and a geophysical observable and then developing research instrumentation demands engineering skills, scientific skills, and collaboration with other researchers and scientists, as well as with other universities and industry.  Because instruments must also be mechanically suited to the environments in which they operate, their creators are also concerned with packaging, vibration, potential thermal problems and issues of electromagnetic compatibility.  MIRSL engineers also have to acquire and process data using both analog and digital electronic techniques. MIRSL researchers must deal with a broader range of problems than normally encountered by other university research groups whose objectives may be more narrowly focused.

A CAD drawing of a Ka-band board inside of its mechanical housing. This particular layout is used to maximize the isolation between two channels of downconvesion, while sharing the same Local Oscillator.


A CAD assembly drawing for a complicated mechanical/microwave board layout. The lower board contains telemetry and DC power, while the upper board houses microwave components.



A two-channel, 3 GSamp/channel ADC complete with Xilinx 4 FPGA. This particular board was constructed with all space qualifiable parts and is capable of streaming data to disk at a minimum rate of 200 MSamp/second