WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 23 -- Ion Optics has received a US Air Force Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Award to develop a compact, high-resolution, hyperspectral long-wave infrared imager. The device's initial design combines an infrared camera with an electronically tunable solid-state interferometric Fabry-Perot liquid-crystal filled etalon filter developed by Scientific Solutions Inc.Ion Optics explained that typical IR imaging devices sense radiation over a wide band of IR spectrum (for example, 8 to 12 µm) and present the radiation as a video image. While these devices are effective for use in night vision and surveillance, the company said that significant IR spectral information is not utilized. IR cameras used in conjunction with electronically tunable filters are able to gather information about the chemical composition of the scene under study. Hyperspectral imagers may be used in applications involving atmospheric and geophysical remote sensing, camouflaged target recognition, and the identification and mapping of chemical warfare agents.