22 July 2016 Fused silica challenges in sensitive space applications
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Abstract
Space bound as well as earthbound spectroscopy of extra-terrestrial objects finds its challenge in light sources with low intensities. High transmission for every optical element along the light path requires optical materials with outstanding performance to enable the measurement of even a one-photon event. Using the Lunar Laser Ranging Project and the LIGO and VIRGO Gravitational Wave Detectors as examples, the influence of the optical properties of fused silica will be described. The Visible and Infrared Surveillance Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) points out the material behavior in the NIR regime, where the chemical composition of optical materials changes the performance. Special fibers are often used in combination with optical elements as light guides to the spectroscopic application. In an extended spectral range between 350 and 2,200 nm Heraeus developed STU fiber preforms dedicated for broad band spectroscopy in astronomy. STU fibers in the broad spectral range as well as SSU fibers for UV transmission (180 – 400 nm) show also high gamma radiation resistance which allows space applications.
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Josephine Criddle, Frank Nürnberg, Robert Sawyer, Peter Bauer, Andreas Langner, Gerhard Schötz, "Fused silica challenges in sensitive space applications", Proc. SPIE 9912, Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation II, 99120K (22 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231661; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231661
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