20 July 2010 Hexabundles: imaging fibre arrays for low-light astronomical applications
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Abstract
We demonstrate for the first time an imaging fibre bundle ("hexabundle") that is suitable for low-light applications in astronomy. The most successful survey instruments at optical-infrared wavelengths today have obtained data on up to a million celestial sources using hundreds of multimode fibres at a time fed to multiple spectrographs. But a large fraction of these sources are spatially extended on the celestial sphere such that a hexabundle would be able to provide spectroscopic information at many distinct locations across the source. Our goal is to upgrade single-fibre survey instruments with multimode hexabundles in place of the multimode fibres. We discuss two varieties of hexabundles: (i) closely packed circular cores allowing the covering fraction to approach the theoretical maximum of 91%; (ii) fused noncircular cores where the interstitial holes have been removed and the covering fraction approaches 100%. In both cases, we find that the cladding can be reduced to ~2μm over the short fuse length, well below the conventional ~10λ thickness employed more generally. We discuss the relative merits of fused/unfused hexabundles in terms of manufacture and deployment, and present our first on-sky observations.
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Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Julia Bryant, Julia Bryant, Gordon Robertson, Gordon Robertson, Peter Gillingham, Peter Gillingham, John O'Byrne, John O'Byrne, Gerald Cecil, Gerald Cecil, Roger Haynes, Roger Haynes, Scott Croom, Scott Croom, Simon Ellis, Simon Ellis, Martin Maack, Martin Maack, Peter Skovgaard, Peter Skovgaard, Danny Noordegraf, Danny Noordegraf, } "Hexabundles: imaging fibre arrays for low-light astronomical applications", Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 773541 (20 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.856345; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.856345
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