The Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS) is a major instrument under development for the 8.2 m Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea. Four identical, fixed spectrograph modules are located in a room above one Nasmyth focus. A 55 m fiber optic cable feeds light into the spectrographs from a robotic fiber positioner mounted at the telescope prime focus, behind the wide field corrector developed for Hyper Suprime-Cam. The positioner contains 2400 fibers and covers a 1.3 degree hexagonal field of view. Each spectrograph module will be capable of simultaneously acquiring 600 spectra.
The spectrograph optical design consists of a Schmidt collimator, two dichroic beamsplitters to separate the light into three channels, and for each channel a volume phase holographic (VPH) grating and a dual- corrector, modified Schmidt reimaging camera. This design provides a 275 mm collimated beam diameter, wide simultaneous wavelength coverage from 380 nm to 1.26 µm, and good imaging performance at the fast f/1.1 focal ratio required from the cameras to avoid oversampling the fibers. The three channels are designated as the blue, red, and near-infrared (NIR), and cover the bandpasses 380–650 nm (blue), 630–970 nm (red), and 0.94–1.26 µm
(NIR). A mosaic of two Hamamatsu 2k×4k, 15 µm pixel CCDs records the spectra in the blue and red channels, while the NIR channel employs a 4k×4k, substrate-removed HAWAII-4RG array from Teledyne, with 15 µm pixels and a 1.7 µm wavelength cutoff.
VPH gratings have become the dispersing element of choice for moderate-resolution astronomical spectro- graphs due their potential for very high diffraction efficiency, low scattered light, and the more compact instru- ment designs offered by transmissive dispersers. High quality VPH gratings are now routinely being produced in the sizes required for instruments on large telescopes. These factors made VPH gratings an obvious choice for PFS. In order to reduce risk to the project, as well as fully exploit the performance potential of this technology, a set of three prototype VPH gratings (one each of the blue, red, and NIR designs) was ordered and has been recently delivered. The goal for these prototype units, but not a requirement, was to meet the specifications for the final gratings in order to serve as spares and also as early demonstration and integration articles. In this paper we present the design and specifications for the PFS gratings, the plan and setups used for testing both the prototype and final gratings, and results from recent optical testing of the prototype grating set.