Mirror contamination in space I: mirror modelling
Abstract. We present a comprehensive model that can be employed to describe and correct for degradation of (scan) mirrors and diffusers in satellite instruments that suffer from changing optical Ultraviolet to visible (UV–VIS) properties during their operational lifetime. As trend studies become more important, so does the importance of understanding and correcting for this degradation. This is the case not only with respect to the transmission of the optical components, but also with respect to wavelength, polarisation, or scan-angle effects. Our hypothesis is that mirrors in flight suffer from the deposition of a thin absorbing layer of contaminant, which slowly builds up over time. We describe this with the Mueller matrix formalism and Fresnel equations for thin multi-layer contamination films. Special care is taken to avoid the confusion often present in earlier publications concerning the Mueller matrix calculus with out-of-plane reflections. The method can be applied to any UV–VIS satellite instrument. We illustrate and verify our approach to the optical behaviour of the multiple scan mirrors of SCIAMACHY (onboard ENVISAT).