We report on the construction and testing of a vacuum-gap Fabry–Pérot etalon calibrator for high precision radial velocity spectrographs. Our etalon is traced against a rubidium frequency standard to provide a cost effective, yet ultra precise wavelength reference. We describe here a turn-key system working at 500 to 900 nm, ready to be installed at any current and next-generation radial velocity spectrograph that requires calibration over a wide spectral bandpass. Where appropriate, we have used off-the-shelf, commercial components with demonstrated long-term performance to accelerate the development timescale of this instrument. Our system combines for the first time the advantages of passively stabilized etalons for optical and near-infrared wavelengths with the laser-locking technique demonstrated for single-mode fiber etalons. We realize uncertainties in the position of one etalon line at the 10 cm s−1 level in individual measurements taken at 4 Hz. When binning the data over 10 s, we are able to trace the etalon line with a precision of better than 3 cm s−1. We present data obtained during a week of continuous operation where we detect (and correct for) the predicted, but previously unobserved shrinking of the etalon Zerodur spacer corresponding to a shift of 13 cm s−1 per day.
The GMT-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF) is a fiber-fed, optical echelle spectrograph selected as the first light instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) now under construction at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. G-CLEF has been designed to be a general-purpose echelle spectrograph with precision radial velocity (PRV) capability for exoplanet detection. The radial velocity (RV) precision goal of G-CLEF is 10 cm/sec, necessary for detection of Earth-sized exoplanets. This goal imposes challenging stability requirements on the optical mounts and the overall spectrograph support structures especially when considering the instrument’s operational environment. The accuracy of G-CLEF’s PRV measurements will be influenced by minute changes in temperature and ambient air pressure as well as vibrations and micro gravity-vector variations caused by normal telescope slewing. For these reasons we have chosen to enclose G-CLEF’s spectrograph in a well-insulated, vibration isolated vacuum chamber in a gravity invariant location on GMT’s azimuth platform. Additional design constraints posed by the GMT telescope include: a limited space envelope, a thermal emission ceiling, and a maximum weight allowance. Other factors, such as manufacturability, serviceability, available technology and budget are also significant design drivers. All of the above considerations must be managed while ensuring performance requirements are achieved. In this paper, we discuss the design of G-CLEF’s optical mounts and support structures including the choice of a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) carbon-fiber optical bench to minimize the system’s sensitivity to thermal soaks and gradients. We discuss design choices made to the vacuum chamber geared towards minimize the influence of daily ambient pressure variations on image motion during observation. We discuss the design of G-CLEF’s insulated enclosure and thermal control systems which will maintain the spectrograph at milli-Kelvin level stability while simultaneously limiting thermal emissions into the telescope dome. Also discussed are micro gravity-vector variations caused by normal telescope slewing, their uncorrected influence on image motion, and how they are dealt with in the design. Finally, we discuss G-CLEF’s front-end assembly and fiber-feed system as well as other interface challenges presented by the telescope, enclosure and neighboring instrumentation.
The GMT-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF) will be a cross-dispersed, optical band echelle spectrograph to be delivered as the first light scientific instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in 2022. G-CLEF is vacuum enclosed and fiber-fed to enable precision radial velocity (PRV) measurements, especially for the detection and characterization of low-mass exoplanets orbiting solar-type stars. The passband of G-CLEF is broad, extending from 3500Å to 9500Å. This passband provides good sensitivity at blue wavelengths for stellar abundance studies and deep red response for observations of high-redshift phenomena. The design of G-CLEF incorporates several novel technical innovations. We give an overview of the innovative features of the current design. G-CLEF will be the first PRV spectrograph to have a composite optical bench so as to exploit that material’s extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion, high in-plane thermal conductivity and high stiffness-to-mass ratio. The spectrograph camera subsystem is divided into a red and a blue channel, split by a dichroic, so there are two independent refractive spectrograph cameras. The control system software is being developed in model-driven software context that has been adopted globally by the GMT. G-CLEF has been conceived and designed within a strict systems engineering framework. As a part of this process, we have developed a analytical toolset to assess the predicted performance of G-CLEF as it has evolved through design phases.
We report on the development and construction of a new fiber-fed, red-optical, high-precision radial-velocity spectrograph for one of the twin 6.5m Magellan Telescopes in Chile. MAROON-X will be optimized to find and characterize rocky planets around nearby M dwarfs with an intrinsic per measurement noise floor below 1ms-1. The instrument is based on a commercial echelle spectrograph customized for high stability and throughput. A microlens array based pupil slicer and double scrambler, as well as a rubidium-referenced etalon comb calibrator will turn this spectrograph into a high-precision radial-velocity machine. MAROON-X will undergo extensive lab tests in the second half of 2016.
The GMT-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF) is an echelle spectrograph with precision radial velocity (PRV) capability that will be a first light instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). G-CLEF has a PRV precision goal of 40 cm/sec (10 cm/s for multiple measurements) to enable detection of Earth-like exoplanets in the habitable zones of sun-like stars1. This precision is a primary driver of G-CLEF’s structural design. Extreme stability is necessary to minimize image motions at the CCD detectors. Minute changes in temperature, pressure, and acceleration environments cause structural deformations, inducing image motions which degrade PRV precision. The instrument’s structural design will ensure that the PRV goal is achieved under the environments G-CLEF will be subjected to as installed on the GMT azimuth platform, including:
Millikelvin (0.001 °K) thermal soaks and gradients
10 millibar changes in ambient pressure
Changes in acceleration due to instrument tip/tilt and telescope slewing
Carbon fiber/cyanate composite was selected for the optical bench structure in order to meet performance goals. Low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and high stiffness-to-weight are key features of the composite optical bench design. Manufacturability and serviceability of the instrument are also drivers of the design.
In this paper, we discuss analyses leading to technical choices made to minimize G-CLEF’s sensitivity to changing environments. Finite element analysis (FEA) and image motion sensitivity studies were conducted to determine PRV performance under operational environments. We discuss the design of the optical bench structure to optimize stiffness-to-weight and minimize deformations due to inertial and pressure effects. We also discuss quasi-kinematic mounting of optical elements and assemblies, and optimization of these to ensure minimal image motion under thermal, pressure, and inertial loads expected during PRV observations.
We report on the design and construction of a microlens-array (MLA)-based pupil slicer and double scrambler for MAROON-X, a new fiber-fed, red-optical, high-precision radial-velocity spectrograph for one of the twin 6.5m Magellan Telescopes in Chile. We have constructed a 3X slicer based on a single cylindrical MLA and show that geometric efficiencies of ≥85% can be achieved, limited by the fill factor and optical surface quality of the MLA. We present here the final design of the 3x pupil slicer and double scrambler for MAROON-X, based on a dual MLA design with (a)spherical lenslets. We also discuss the techniques used to create a pseudo-slit of rectangular core fibers with low FRD levels.
We report on the scrambling performance and focal-ratio-degradation (FRD) of various octagonal and rectangular fibers considered for MAROON-X. Our measurements demonstrate the detrimental effect of thin claddings on the FRD of octagonal and rectangular fibers and that stress induced at the connectors can further increase the FRD. We find that fibers with a thick, round cladding show low FRD. We further demonstrate that the scrambling behavior of non-circular fibers is often complex and introduce a new metric to fully capture non-linear scrambling performance, leading to much lower scrambling gain values than are typically reported in the literature (≤1000 compared to 10,000 or more). We find that scrambling gain measurements for small-core, non-circular fibers are often speckle dominated if the fiber is not agitated.
We report on the construction and testing of a vacuum-gap Fabry-Perot etalon calibrator for high precision radial velocity spectrographs. The etalon is referenced against hyper fine transitions of rubidium to provide a precise wavelength calibrator for MAROON-X, a new fiber-fed, red-optical, high-precision radial-velocity spectrograph currently under construction for one of the twin 6.5m Magellan Telescopes in Chile. We demonstrate a turnkey system, ready to be installed at any current and next generation radial velocity spectrograph that requires calibration over a wide spectral band-pass. Uncertainties in the position of one etalon line are at the 10 cm s-1 level in individual measurements taken at 4 Hz. Our long-term stability is mainly limited by aging effects of the spacer material Zerodur, which imprints a 12 cm s-1 daily drift. However, as the etalon position is traced by the rubidium reference with a precision of <3 cm s-1 for integration times longer than 10s, we can fully account for this effect at the RV data reduction level.
Optical fibers are a key component for high-resolution spectrographs to attain high precision in radial velocity measurements. We present a custom fiber with a novel core geometry - a 'D'-shape. From a theoretical standpoint, such a fiber should provide superior scrambling and modal noise mitigation, since unlike the commonly used circular and polygonal fiber cross sections, it shows chaotic scrambling. We report on the fabrication process of a test fiber and compare the optical properties, scrambling performance, and modal noise behaviour of the D-fiber with those of common polygonal fibers.
The GMT-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF) is an optical-band echelle spectrograph that has been selected as
the first light instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). G-CLEF is a general-purpose, high dispersion
spectrograph that is fiber fed and capable of extremely precise radial velocity measurements. The G-CLEF Concept
Design (CoD) was selected in Spring 2013. Since then, G-CLEF has undergone science requirements and instrument
requirements reviews and will be the subject of a preliminary design review (PDR) in March 2015. Since CoD review
(CoDR), the overall G-CLEF design has evolved significantly as we have optimized the constituent designs of the major
subsystems, i.e. the fiber system, the telescope interface, the calibration system and the spectrograph itself. These
modifications have been made to enhance G-CLEF’s capability to address frontier science problems, as well as to
respond to the evolution of the GMT itself and developments in the technical landscape. G-CLEF has been designed by
applying rigorous systems engineering methodology to flow Level 1 Scientific Objectives to Level 2 Observational
Requirements and thence to Level 3 and Level 4. The rigorous systems approach applied to G-CLEF establishes a well
defined science requirements framework for the engineering design. By adopting this formalism, we may flexibly update
and analyze the capability of G-CLEF to respond to new scientific discoveries as we move toward first light. G-CLEF
will exploit numerous technological advances and features of the GMT itself to deliver an efficient, high performance instrument, e.g. exploiting the adaptive optics secondary system to increase both throughput and radial velocity
Many astrophysical applications require precise wavelength calibration of high resolution spectra. Calibration sources for this purpose at near-infrared wavelengths are sparse. We present an experimental setup for an electrodeless microwave discharge lamp that produces molecular band emission spectra. The discharge is sustained inside a glass cell filled with a combination of different gases producing CN molecules with many spectral lines in the wavelength range between 1 μm and 2.5 μm. We investigate this lamp in terms of its usability for wavelength calibration in high resolution spectroscopy. In this conference contribution, we present the experimental setup and the characterization of the calibration source in terms of line identification, line intensities, and line density. We find approximately 20,000 lines in the spectral region of 1 - 2 μm with relative peak intensities in a range of two orders of magnitude. The results from a first endurance test show that the durability of the spectrum requires careful attention in the course of further development.
The Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph (EXES) is one of the first generation instruments for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). The primary goal of EXES is to provide high-resolution, cross-dispersed spectroscopy, with resolutions of 50,000-100,000 and wavelength coverage of 0.5-1.5% between 4.5 μm and 28.3 μm. EXES will also have medium (R=5000-25000) and low (R=1500-4000) modes available, as well as a target acquisition imaging mode and a pupil-imaging mode for alignment testing. EXES is scheduled for commissioning flights in February 2014. It will be available to the public for shared-risk observations in SOFIA’s Cycle 2. Here we give an overview of the design and capabilities of EXES as well as its laboratory performance to date.
The Echelon-cross-Echelle Spectrograph (EXES) is one of the first generation instruments for the Stratospheric
Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). It operates at high, medium, and low spectral resolution in the
wavelength region 4.5 to 28.3 microns using a 1024x1024 Si:As detector array. From SOFIA, the high spectral
resolution mode (R ≈ 100,000) will provide truly unique data given the improved atmospheric transmission. We
are currently involved with system testing in preparation for our first ground-based telescope run to occur in
Jan 2011 at the NASA IRTF 3m. We present the current status of EXES including lab results in our high and
medium resolution modes, our plans for ground-based observing, and our expectations for operations on SOFIA.
METIS is a mid-infrared instrument proposed for the European Extremely Large Telescope. It is designed to provide imaging and spectroscopic capabilities in the 3 - 14 micron region up to a spectral resolution of 100000. One of the novel concepts of METIS is that of a high-resolution integral field spectrograph for a diffraction-limited mid-IR instrument. While this concept has many scientific and operational advantages over a long-slit spectrograph, one drawback is that the spectral resolution changes over the field of view. This has an impact on the procedures to correct for telluric absorption lines imprinted on the science spectra. They are a major obstacle in the quest to maximize spectral fidelity, the ability to distinguish a weak spectral feature from the continuum. The classical technique of division by a standard star spectrum, observed in a single IFS spaxel, cannot simply be applied to all spaxels, because the spectral resolution changes from spaxel to spaxel. Here we present and discuss possible techniques of telluric line correction of METIS IFS spectra, including the application of synthetic model spectra of telluric transmission, to maximize spectral fidelity.
CRIRES is a cryogenic, pre-dispersed, infrared Echelle spectrograph designed to provide a nominal resolving
power ν/Δν of 105 between 1000 and 5000 nm for a nominal slit width of 0.2". The CRIRES installation at
the Nasmyth focus A of the 8-m VLT UT1 (Antu) marks the completion of the original instrumentation plan
for the VLT. A curvature sensing adaptive optics system feed is used to minimize slit losses and to provide 0.2"
spatial resolution along the slit. A mosaic of four Aladdin InSb-arrays packaged on custom-fabricated ceramic
boards has been developed. It provides for an effective 4096 × 512 pixel focal plane array to maximize the free
spectral range covered in each exposure. Insertion of gas cells is possible in order to measure radial velocities with
high precision. Measurement of circular and linear polarization in Zeeman sensitive lines for magnetic Doppler
imaging is foreseen but not yet fully implemented. A cryogenic Wollaston prism on a kinematic mount is already
incorporated. The retarder devices will be located close to the Unit Telescope focal plane. Here we briefly recall
the major design features of CRIRES and describe the commissioning of the instrument including a report of
extensive testing and a preview of astronomical results.
The University of Hawaii Wide-Field Imager (UHWFI) is a focal compressor designed to project the full half-degree field of the UH 2.2m telescope onto the refurbished 8K×8K CCD camera. The optics use Ohara glasses and are mounted in an oil-filled cell to minimize light losses and ghost images from the large number of internal surfaces. The UHWFI is equipped with a six-position filter wheel and a rotating sector shutter, both driven by stepper motors. The instrument is currently in the design phase and will be commissioned early in 2003.