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Blackbody sources calibrated at the LBIR facility. (General Developments).

The Low-Background Infrared (LBIR) facility provides means to calibrate low power thermal-infrared sources (blackbodies). Since all material gives off less infrared radiation as it gets cooler, the inner walls of the LBIR facility are cooled cryogenically to prevent them from interfering with the source being measured.

A major application of this facility is to calibrate measurement standards used in the National Missile Defense (NMD) program. (The LBIR environment simulates the cold background of space.) NIST recently characterized two blackbody sources, for two private companies, being used as NIST-traceable standards for the calibration of Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) infrared sensors.

These calibrations were made possible by recent improvements at the LBIR facility which increased its sensitivity by a factor of 10. A new, lower noise-floor absolute cryogenic radiometer (ACR II) became operational as the standard infrared detector. An expansion in refrigeration capacity provides a much more stable test environment. Further, automation of the calibration test sequence has allowed the acquisition of more data, thus improving statistics.

These improvements, and others planned, will assist in meeting ongoing calibration requirements of the EKV program.

CONTACT: Adriaan Carter, (301) 975-4765; adriaan.carter@nist.gov.
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Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Words:190
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