AMBER, Astronomical Multi BEam combineR, is the near-infrared focal instrument dedicated to the VLTI. It is designed to combine three of the VLTI Telescopes and to work simultaneously in the J, H and K spectral bands (1.1 to 2.4 μm).
The instrumental concept and its opto-mechanic specifications were defined in order to reach the ambitious scientific requirements
to satisfy the core astrophysical programs.
The project passed the Final Design Review in May 2001, phase which marks the acceptation of the instrument final design and
the beginning of the construction and tests. After this phase, optics and mechanical systems have been receptioned since February 2002, for the laboratory tests and alignments.
The cooled spectrograph and its cryostat is assembled at the Osservatorio di Arcetri in Firenze, Italy and the cooled detector at the Max-Planck-Institut fur Radioastronomie in Bonn, Deutschland. The warm optics, including spatial filter in K and artificial sources injection system, have been pre-aligned at the
Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur in Nice, France to validate most of the alignment procedure, the required element accuracies and the
associated degrees of freedom. The whole instrument is then currently fully assembled and optimized at the Laboratoire
d'Astrophysique de l'Observatoire de Grenoble, France. Its sensitivity and final performance will be evaluated in order to reach the Preliminary Acceptance in Europe, scheduled beginning 2003.
This paper gives the results of the warm optics laboratory commissioning.