20 July 2010 The LUCIFER MOS: a full cryogenic mask handling unit for a near-infrared multi-object spectrograph
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The LUCIFER-MOS unit is the full cryogenic mask-exchange unit for the near-infrared multi-object spectrograph LUCIFER at the Large Binocular Telescope. We present the design and functionality of this unique device. In LUCIFER the masks are stored, handled, and placed in the focal plane under cryogenic conditions at all times, resulting in very low thermal background emission from the masks during observations. All mask manipulations are done by a novel cryogenic mask handling robot that can individually address up to 33 fixed and user-provided masks and place them in the focal plane with high accuracy. A complete mask exchange cycle is done in less than five minutes and can be run in every instrument position and state reducing instrument setup time during science observations to a minimum. Exchange of old and new MOS masks is likewise done under cryogenic conditions using a unique exchange drive mechanism and two auxiliary cryostats that attach to the main instrument cryostat.
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Peter Buschkamp, Reiner Hofmann, Hans Gemperlein, Kai Polsterer, Nancy Ageorges, Frank Eisenhauer, Reinhard Lederer, Mathias Honsberg, Marcus Haug, Johann Eibl, Walter Seifert, Reinhard Genzel, "The LUCIFER MOS: a full cryogenic mask handling unit for a near-infrared multi-object spectrograph", Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 773579 (20 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857950; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.857950


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