28 July 2014 Fast multichannel astronomical photometer based on silicon photo multipliers mounted at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo
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Abstract
The realization of low-cost instruments with high technical performance is a goal that deserves efforts in an epoch of fast technological developments. Such instruments can be easily reproduced and therefore allow new research programs to be opened in several observatories. We realized a fast optical photometer based on the SiPM (Silicon Photo Multiplier) technology, using commercially available modules. Using low-cost components, we developed a custom electronic chain to extract the signal produced by a commercial MPPC (Multi Pixel Photon Counter) module produced by Hamamatsu Photonics to obtain sub-millisecond sampling of the light curve of astronomical sources (typically pulsars). We built a compact mechanical interface to mount the MPPC at the focal plane of the TNG (Telescopio Nazionale Galileo), using the space available for the slits of the LRS (Low Resolution Spectrograph). On February 2014 we observed the Crab pulsar with the TNG with our prototype photometer, deriving its period and the shape of its light curve, in very good agreement with the results obtained in the past with other much more expensive instruments. After the successful run at the telescope we describe here the lessons learned and the ideas that burst to optimize this instrument and make it more versatile.
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Filippo Ambrosino, Filippo Ambrosino, Franco Meddi, Franco Meddi, Corinne Rossi, Corinne Rossi, Silvia Sclavi, Silvia Sclavi, Roberto Nesci, Roberto Nesci, Ivan Bruni, Ivan Bruni, Adriano Ghedina, Adriano Ghedina, Luis Riverol, Luis Riverol, Luca Di Fabrizio, Luca Di Fabrizio, } "Fast multichannel astronomical photometer based on silicon photo multipliers mounted at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo", Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 91478R (28 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2064649; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2064649
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