The mid-infrared spectrometer and camera transit spectrometer (MISC-T) is one of the three baseline instruments for Origins Space Telescope (Origins) and provides the capability to assess the habitability of nearby exoplanets and search for signs of life. MISC-T employs a densified pupil optical design, and HgCdTe and Si:As detector arrays. This optical design allows the instrument to be relatively insensitive to minor line-of-sight pointing drifts and telescope aberrations, and the detectors do not require a sub-Kelvin refrigerator. MISC-T has three science spectral channels that share the same field-of-view by means of beam splitters, and all channels are operated simultaneously to cover the full spectral range from 2.8 to 20 μm at once with exquisite stability and precision (<5 ppm between 2.8 to 11 μm, <20 ppm between 11 and 20 μm). A Lyot-coronagraph-based tip–tilt sensor located in the instrument fore-optics uses the light reflected by a field stop, which corresponds to 0.3% of the light from the target, to send fine pointing information to the field steering mirror in the Origins telescope. An additional MISC Wide Field Imager (WFI) is studied as an upscope option for the Origins. MISC-WFI offers a wide field imaging (3 ′ × 3 ′ ) and low-resolution spectroscopic capability with filters and grating-prisms (grisms) covering 5 to 28 μm. The imaging capability of the MISC-WFI will be used for general science objectives. The low-resolution spectroscopic capability in MISC-WFI with a resolving power R ( = λ / Δλ) of a few hundreds will be used to measure the mid-infrared dust features and ionic lines at z up to ∼1 in the Origins mission’s Rise of Metals and Black Hole Feedback programs. The MISC-WFI also serves as a focal plane pointing and guiding instrument for the observatory, including when the MISC-T channel is performing its exoplanet spectroscopy observations.
We report on the laboratory experiments of a densified pupil spectrograph designed for mid-infrared transit spectroscopy of exoplanets. We developed a testbed consisting of a blackbody infrared light source, a densified pupil spectrograph, and a prototype JWST Si:As Impurity Band Conduction (IBC) detector array to simulate observations of a planet’s host star. In order to thermally stabilize the measurement system, we installed all of the components in a large cryogenic dewar and controlled the temperatures of the thermal source and the Si:As IBC detector. The characteristics of the spectrum formed on the detector were consistent with the designed values. The photometric precision of the densified pupil spectrograph was 14 ppm on average over the whole observing wavelength range of 8.5 to 10.5 μm. The systematic noise component of the spectrograph hidden behind the transit spectrograph was 11 ppm.
This paper describes the transit spectrograph designed for the Origins Space Telescope mid-infrared imager, spectrometer, coronagraph (MISC) and its performance derived through analytical formulation and numerical simulation. The transit spectrograph is designed based on a densified pupil spectroscopy design that forms multiple independent spectra on the detector plane and minimizes the systematic noise in the optical system. This design can also block any thermal light incoming into pixels around the transit spectra. The gain fluctuations occurring in the detector and readout electronics are accurately corrected by use of a number of blanked-off pixels. We found that the transit spectrograph for the OST concept 1 with a diameter of 9.3m potentially achieves the photon-noise-limited performance and allows detection of biosignature gases through transmission spectroscopy of transiting planets orbiting late- and middle-M type stars at 10 pc with 60 transit observations.
The Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) is a cryogenic high resolution X-ray spectrometer onboard the X-ray astronomy
satellite ASTRO-H. The detector array is cooled down to 50 mK using a 3-stage adiabatic demagnetization
refrigerator (ADR). The cooling chain from room temperature to the ADR heat-sink is composed of superfluid
liquid He, a 4He Joule-Thomson cryocooler, and 2-stage Stirling cryocoolers. It is designed to keep 30 L of liquid
He for more than 3 years in the nominal case. It is also designed with redundant subsystems throughout from
room temperature to the ADR heat-sink, to alleviate failure of a single cryocooler or loss of liquid He.
One of the instruments on the International X-ray Observatory (IXO), under study with NASA, ESA and JAXA, is the
X-ray Microcalorimeter Spectrometer (XMS). This instrument, which will provide high spectral resolution images, is
based on X-ray micro-calorimeters with Transition Edge Sensor thermometers. The pixels have metallic X-ray absorbers
and are read-out by multiplexed SQUID electronics. The requirements for this instrument are demanding. In the central
array (40 x 40 pixels) an energy resolution of < 2.5 eV is required, whereas the energy resolution of the outer array is
more relaxed (≈ 10 eV) but the detection elements have to be a factor 16 larger in order to keep the number of read-out
channels acceptable for a cryogenic instrument. Due to the large collection area of the IXO optics, the XMS instrument
must be capable of processing high counting rates, while maintaining the spectral resolution and a low deadtime. In
addition, an anti-coincidence detector is required to suppress the particle-induced background.
In this paper we will summarize the instrument status and performance. We will describe the results of design studies for
the focal plane assembly and the cooling systems. Also the system and its required spacecraft resources will be given.
In future space applications, widely distributed sensors, as well as, large deployable structures, such as mirrors and
sunshades, will require active thermal control. However, thermal integration by conductive coupling with regenerative
cryocoolers is not feasible for such distributed loads, as it requires massive copper straps and provides only limited
means of thermal control. To address these issues, we are developing a continuous-flow rectified cooling loop (RCL) for
use with pulse tube refrigerators. The RCL consists of a rectifier, integrated into the cold heat exchanger of the pulse
tube refrigerator, and a flow loop with a MEMS-based, micro-scale, control valve. The RCL allows simple mechanical
integration and has the benefit of load temperature regulation using the actively controlled valve to regulate the gas flow.
The MEMS valve may also serve as the basis for a system of distributed Joule-Thomson (JT) coolers. In this paper, we
summarize the work that has been done to date by Atlas Scientific, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin
Cryogenic Engineering Group (UWCEG) and the University of Michigan Solid State Electronics Lab (UMSSEL), in
developing the RCL and the MEMS-based micro-scale control valve.