IRIS2, the infrared imager and spectrograph for the Cassegrain focus of the Anglo Australian Telescope, has been in service since October 2001.
IRIS2 incorporated many novel features, including multiple cryogenic multislit masks, a dual chambered vacuum vessel (the smaller chamber used to reduce thermal cycle time required to change sets of multislit masks), encoded cryogenic wheel drives with controlled backlash, a deflection compensating structure, and use of teflon impregnated hard anodizing for gear lubrication at low temperatures. Other noteworthy features were: swaged foil thermal link terminations, the pupil imager, the detector focus mechanism, phased getter cycling to prevent detector contamination, and a flow-through LN2 precooling system. The instrument control electronics was designed to allow accurate positioning of the internal mechanisms with minimal generation of heat. The detector controller was based on the AAO2 CCD controller, adapted for use on the HAWAII1 detector (1024 x 1024 pixels) and is achieving low noise and high performance.
We describe features of the instrument design, the problems encountered and the development work required to bring them into operation, and their performance in service.