As improvements to the optical design of spectrometer and radiometer instruments evolve with advances in detector sensitivity, use of focal plane detector arrays and innovations in adaptive optics for large high altitude telescopes, interest in mid-infrared astronomy and remote sensing applications have been areas of progressive research in recent years. This research has promoted a number of developments in infrared coating performance, particularly by placing increased demands on the spectral imaging requirements of filters to precisely isolate radiation between discrete wavebands and improve photometric accuracy. The spectral design and construction of multilayer filters to accommodate these developments has subsequently been an area of challenging thin-film research, to achieve high spectral positioning accuracy, environmental durability and aging stability at cryogenic temperatures, whilst maximizing the far-infrared performance. In this paper we examine the design and fabrication of interference filters in instruments that utilize the mid-infrared N-band (6-15 μm) and Q-band (16-28 μm) atmospheric windows, together with a rationale for the selection of materials, deposition process, spectral measurements and assessment of environmental durability performance.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.