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22 July 2016 Aspherical mirrors for the Gamma-ray Cherenkov Telescope, a Schwarschild-Couder prototype proposed for the future Cherenkov Telescope Array
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The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) project, led by an international collaboration of institutes, aims to create the world's largest next generation Very High-Energy (VHE) gamma-ray telescope array, devoted to observations in a wide band of energy, from a few tens of GeV to more than 100 TeV. The Small-Sized Telescopes (SSTs) are dedicated to the highest energy range. Seventy SSTs are planned in the baseline array design with a required lifetime of about 30 years.

The GCT (Gamma-ray Cherenkov Telescope) is one of the prototypes proposed for CTA's SST sub-array. It is based on a Schwarzschild-Couder dual-mirror optical design. This configuration has the benefit of increasing the field-of-view and decreasing the masses of the telescope and of the camera. But, in spite of these many advantages, it was never implemented before in ground-based Cherenkov astronomy because of the aspherical and highly curved shape required for the mirrors.

The optical design of the GCT consists of a primary 4 meter diameter mirror, segmented in six aspherical petals, a secondary monolithic 2-meter mirror and a light camera. The reduced number of segments simplifies the alignment of the telescope but complicates the shape of the petals. This, combined with the strong curvature of the secondary mirror, strongly constrains the manufacturing process. The Observatoire de Paris implemented metallic lightweight mirrors for the primary and the secondary mirrors of GCT. This choice was made possible because of the relaxed requirements of optical Cherenkov telescopes compared to optical ones. Measurements on produced mirrors show that these ones can fulfill requirements in shape, PSF and reflectivity, with a clear competition between manufacturing cost and final performance.

This paper describes the design of these mirrors in the context of their characteristics and how design optimization was used to produce a lightweight design. The manufacturing process used for the prototype and planned for the large scale production is presented as well as the performance, in terms of geometric and optical properties, of the produced mirrors. The alignment procedure of the mirrors is also detailed. This technique is finally compared to other manufacturing techniques based on composite glass mirrors within the framework of GCT mirrors specificities.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
J. L. Dournaux, J. Gironnet, J. M. Huet, P. Laporte, P. Chadwick, D. Dumas, M. Pech, C. B. Rulten, F. Sayède, J. Schmoll, and H. Sol "Aspherical mirrors for the Gamma-ray Cherenkov Telescope, a Schwarschild-Couder prototype proposed for the future Cherenkov Telescope Array ", Proc. SPIE 9912, Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation II, 991240 (22 July 2016);

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