13 September 2012 A new generation active arrays for optical flexibility in astronomical instrumentation
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Abstract
Throughout the history of telescopes and astronomical instrumentation, new ways were found to open up unexplored possibilities in fundamental astronomical research by increasing the telescope size and instrumentation complexity. The ever demanding requirements on instrument performance pushes instrument complexity to the edge. In order to take the next leap forward in instrument development the optical design freedom needs to be increased drastically. The use of more complex and more accurate optics allows for shorter optical trains with smaller sizes, smaller number of components and reduced fabrication and alignment verification time and costs. Current optics fabrication is limited in surface form complexity and/or accuracy. Traditional active and adaptive optics lack the needed intrinsic long term stability and simplicity in design, manufacturing, verification and control. This paper explains how and why active arrays literally provide a flexible but stable basis for the next generation optical instruments. Combing active arrays with optically high quality face sheets more complex and accurate optical surface forms can be provided including extreme a-spherical (freeform) surfaces and thus allow for optical train optimization and even instrument reconfiguration. A zero based design strategy is adopted for the development of the active arrays addressing fundamental issues in opto-mechanical engineering. The various choices are investigated by prototypes and Finite Element Analysis. Finally an engineering concept will be presented following a highly stable adjustment strategy allowing simple verification and control. The Optimization metrology is described in an additional paper for this conference by T. Agócs et al.
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G. Kroes, G. Kroes, A. Jaskó, A. Jaskó, J. H. Pragt, J. H. Pragt, L. Venema, L. Venema, M. De Haan, M. De Haan, } "A new generation active arrays for optical flexibility in astronomical instrumentation", Proc. SPIE 8450, Modern Technologies in Space- and Ground-based Telescopes and Instrumentation II, 845029 (13 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926481; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.926481
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