Optical spectroscopy excels at chemical identification and is ubiquitous in the sciences as a highly specific and noninvasive probe of molecular structure. The field is moving toward the integration of miniaturized optical spectrometers into mobile platforms which will have unprecedented impact on applications ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to mobile phones. To address this demand, silicon photonics stands out as platform capable of delivering compact and cost-effective devices and systems. The Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS) is largely used in free-space spectroscopy, where its high signal throughput has proven a boon to overcoming the difficulties of otherwise overwhelming detector noise. Its implementation in silicon photonics manufacturing will contribute to bringing broadband operation and fine resolution to the chip scale enabling such attributes as compactness, power efficiency, real time operation and low cost.