A consortium of several Australian and European institutes – together with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) – has initiated the design of MAVIS, a Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) system for the ground- based 8-m Very Large Telescope (VLT). MAVIS (MCAO-assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph) will deliver visible images and integral field spectrograph data with 2-3x better angular resolution than the Hubble Space Telescope, making it a powerful complement at visible wavelengths to future facilities like the space-based James Webb Space Telescope and the 30 to 40m-class ground-based telescopes currently under construction, which are all targeting science at near-infrared wavelengths. MAVIS successfully passed its Phase A in May 2020. We present the motivations, requirements, principal design choices, conceptual design, expected performance and an overview of the exciting science enabled by MAVIS.
The Adaptive Optics Module of MAVIS is a self-contained MCAO module, which delivers a corrected FoV to the postfocal scientific instruments, in the visible. The module aims to exploit the full potential of the ESO VLT UT4 Adaptive Optics Facility, which is composed of the high spatial frequency deformable secondary mirror and the laser guide stars launching and control systems. During the MAVIS Phase A, we evaluated, with the support of simulations and analysis at different levels, the main terms of the error budgets aiming at estimating the realistic AOM performance. After introducing the current opto-mechanical design and AO scheme of the AOM, we here present the standard wavefront error budget and the other budgets, including manufacturing, alignment of the module, thermal behavior and noncommon path aberrations, together with the contribution of the upstream telescope system.
The MCAO Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph (MAVIS) is a facility-grade visible MCAO instrument, currently under development for the Adaptive Optics Facility at the VLT. The adaptive optics system will feed both an imager and an integral field spectrograph, with unprecedented sky coverage of 50% at the Galactic Pole. The imager will deliver diffraction-limited image quality in the V band, cover a 30" x 30" field of view, with imaging from U to z bands. The conceptual design for the spectrograph has a selectable field-of-view of 2.5" x 3.6", or 5" x 7.2", with a spatial sampling of 25 or 50 mas respectively. It will deliver a spectral resolving power of R=5,000 to R=15,000, covering a wavelength range from 380 - 950 nm. The combined angular resolution and sensitivity of MAVIS fill a unique parameter space at optical wavelengths, that is highly complementary to that of future next-generation facilities like JWST and ELTs, optimised for infrared wavelengths. MAVIS will facilitate a broad range of science, including monitoring solar system bodies in support of space missions; resolving protoplanetary- and accretion-disk mechanisms around stars; combining radial velocities and proper motions to detect intermediate-mass black holes; characterising resolved stellar populations in galaxies beyond the local group; resolving galaxies spectrally and spatially on parsec scales out to 50 Mpc; tracing the role of star clusters across cosmic time; and characterising the first globular clusters in formation via gravitational lensing. We describe the science cases and the concept designs for the imager and spectrograph.
Cryocoolers have long been demonstrated to be a dominant source of vibration that have caused significant problems with AO systems on large telescopes. Existing large telescopes have already imposed strict vibration requirements on instruments in response to existing problems, and have often struggled to achieve them. As the field moves into the next generation telescopes with GMT, TMT and eELT, vibration requirements continue to get ever tighter. Instrument teams must respond to these more demanding requirements by careful selection of cryocoolers and thoughtful design of cryocooler mounts that are matched closely with the specific requirements of the telescope. As we will demonstrate in this paper there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every instrument and every telescope. In this paper we demonstrate a general method of deriving the required performance for an anti-vibration mounts for cryocoolers. First we characterize a linear Stirling-type cryocooler as a source of vibration, and determine what compliant mounts would be required to make them acceptable for use on the VLT, GMT and TMT. Measurements are taken of vibration from a Cryotel GT linear Stirling cooler (with active vibration cancellation enabled). By comparing the measured vibration against the requirements of each telescope, we are able to determine the required transfer function and therefore the required spring rate for compliant mounts. The results indicate that while some simple rubber mounts may be sufficient for use with the VLT and TMT, but a compliant mount with natural frequency below 14 Hz must be used for GMT.
We present a summary of the cryogenic detector preamplifier development programme under way at the ANU. Cryogenic preamplifiers have been demonstrated for both near-infrared detectors (Teledyne H1RG and Leonardo SAPHIRA eAPD as part of development for the GMTIFS instrument) and optical CCDs (e2v CCD231-84 for use with the AAT/Veloce spectrograph). This approach to detector signal conditioning allows low-noise instrument amplifiers to be placed very close to an infra-red detector or optical CCD, isolating the readout path from external interference noise sources. Laboratory results demonstrate effective isolation of the readout path from external interference noise sources. Recent progress has focussed on the first on-sky deployment of four cryogenic preamp channels for the Veloce Rosso precision radial velocity spectrograph. We also outline future evolution of the current design, allowing higher speeds and further enhanced performance for the demanding applications required for the on instrument wavefront sensor on the Giant Magellan Integral Field Spectrograph (GMTIFS).
The GMTIFS instrument requires multiple rotary mechanisms that will operate in a cryogenic environment. Angular precision up to one arc-second is required without the use of IR sources as part of an encoder. A general design that uses an annular conical rim bearing supported by three pairs of tapered pinch rollers has been proposed. One pair of pinch rollers is mounted on a flexure hinge to provide preload and accommodate thermal expansion. A pair of off set cylindrical cams carried by the rotor, and four capacitive distance sensors fixed to the stator are utilized to implement a resolver. This provides a measure of the rotor orientation that is insensitive to runout of the rotor. A prototype of this design was constructed and tested in the lab to investigate the effect of runout in the tapered rollers and assess the performance of the rim bearing and various resolver designs. We present the results of this testing.
We report on the conceptual design study done for the Ground Layer Adaptive Optics system of the ULTIMATE-Subaru project. This is an ambitious instrument project, providing GLAO correction in a square field of view of 14 arcmin on a side, aiming to deliver improved seeing at the near infrared wavelength. Its client instruments are an imager and multi-IFU spectrograph at Cassegrain and a Multi-Object spectrograph at Nasmyth. In this paper, we introduce the ULTIMATE-Subaru project overview and its science case and report the results of the GLAO performance prediction based on the numerical simulation and conceptual design of the wavefront sensor system.
Veloce is an ultra-stabilized Echelle spectrograph for precision radial velocity measurements of stars. In order to maximize the grating performance, the air temperature as well as the air pressure surrounding it must be maintained within tight tolerances. The control goal was set at +/-10 mK and +/-1 mbar for air temperature and pressure respectively. The strategy developed by the design team resulted in separate approaches for each of the two requirements. A constrained budget early in the concept phase quickly ruled out building a large vacuum vessel to achieve stable air pressure. Instead, a simplified approach making use of a slightly over pressurized enclosure containing the whole spectrograph was selected in conjunction with a commercially available pressure controller. The temperature stability of Veloce is maintained through a custom array of PID controlled heaters placed on the outer skin of the internal spectrograph enclosure. This enclosure is also fully lined with 19 mm thick insulating panels to minimize the thermal fluctuations. A second insulated enclosure, built around the internal one, adds a layer of conditioned air to further shield Veloce from the ambient thermal changes. Early success of the environment control system has already been demonstrated in the integration laboratory, achieving results that amply exceed the goals set forth. Results presented show the long term stability of operation under varying barometric conditions. This paper details the various challenges encountered during the implementation of the stated designs, with an emphasis on the control strategy and the mechanical constraints to implement the solutions.
We report the design evolution for the GMT Integral Field Spectrograph, (GMTIFS). To support the range of operating modes – a spectroscopic channel providing integral field spectroscopy with variable spaxel scales, and a parallel imaging channel Nyquist sampling the LTAO corrected field of view - the design process has focused on risk mitigation for the demanding operational tolerances. We summarise results from prototype components, confirming concepts are meeting the necessary specifications. Ongoing review and simulation of the scientific requirements also leads to new demonstrations of the science that will be made possible with this new generation of high performance AO assisted instrumentation.
Veloce is an ultra-stable fibre-fed R4 echelle spectrograph for the 3.9 m Anglo-Australian Telescope. The first channel to be commissioned, Veloce ‘Rosso’, utilises multiple low-cost design innovations to obtain Doppler velocities for sun-like and M-dwarf stars at <1 ms -1 precision. The spectrograph has an asymmetric white-pupil format with a 100-mm beam diameter, delivering R>75,000 spectra over a 580-930 nm range for the Rosso channel. Simultaneous calibration is provided by a single-mode pulsed laser frequency comb in tandem with a traditional arc lamp. A bundle of 19 object fibres ensures full sampling of stellar targets from the AAT site. Veloce is housed in dual environmental enclosures that maintain positive air pressure at a stability of ±0.3 mbar, with a thermal stability of ±0.01 K on the optical bench. We present a technical overview and early performance data from Australia's next major spectroscopic machine.
We report the results of a multi-year program to measure the vibration characteristics of the two Gemini telescopes. Measurements with fast-guiding wavefront sensors and networks of accelerometers show a correlation between image motion and optical vibrations induced mostly by instrument cryocoolers. We have mitigated the strongest vibrations by fast-guiding compensation and active cancellation of vibration sources.
The Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System (GeMS) at the Gemini South telescope in Cerro Pachon is the first sodium Laser Guide Star (LGS) adaptive optics (AO) system with multiple guide stars. It uses five LGSs and two deformable mirrors (DMs) to measure and compensate for distortions induced by atmospheric turbulence. After its 2012 commissioning phase, it is now transitioning into regular operations. Although GeMS has unique scientific capabilities, it remains a challenging instrument to maintain, operate and upgrade. In this paper, we summarize the latest news and results. First, we describe the engineering work done this past year, mostly during our last instrument shutdown in 2013 austral winter, covering many subsystems: an erroneous reconjugation of the Laser guide star wavefront sensor, the correction of focus field distortion for the natural guide star wavefront sensor and engineering changes dealing with our laser and its beam transfer optics. We also describe our revamped software, developed to integrate the instrument into the Gemini operational model, and the new optimization procedures aiming to reduce GeMS time overheads. Significant software improvements were achieved on the acquisition of natural guide stars by our natural guide star wavefront sensor, on the automation of tip-tilt and higher-order loop optimization, and on the tomographic non-common path aberration compensation. We then go through the current operational scheme and present the plan for the next years. We offered 38 nights in our last semester. We review the current system efficiency in term of raw performance, completed programs and time overheads. We also present our current efforts to merge GeMS into the Gemini base facility project, where night operations are all reliably driven from our La Serena headquarter, without the need for any spotter. Finally we present the plan for the future upgrades, mostly dedicated toward improving the performance and reliability of the system. Our first upgrade called NGS2, a project lead by the Australian National University, based a focal plane camera will replace the current low throughput natural guide wavefront sensor. On a longer term, we are also planning the (re-)integration of our third deformable mirror, lost during the early phase of commissioning. Early plans to improve the reliability of our laser will be presented.
The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) entered on-sky commissioning and had its first-light at the Gemini South (GS) telescope in November 2013. GPI is an extreme adaptive optics (XAO), high-contrast imager and integral-field spectrograph dedicated to the direct detection of hot exo-planets down to a Jupiter mass. The performance of the apodized pupil Lyot coronagraph depends critically upon the residual wavefront error (design goal of 60nmRMS with <5 mas RMS tip/tilt), and therefore is most sensitive to vibration (internal or external) of Gemini's instrument suite. Excess vibration can be mitigated by a variety of methods such as passive or active dampening at the instrument or telescope structure or Kalman filtering of specific frequencies with the AO control loop. Understanding the sources, magnitudes and impact of vibration is key to mitigation. This paper gives an overview of related investigations based on instrument data (GPI AO module) as well as external data from accelerometer sensors placed at different locations on the GS telescope structure. We report the status of related mitigation efforts, and present corresponding results.
The Gemini Planet Imager is an extreme AO instrument with an integral field spectrograph (IFS) operating in Y, J, H, and K bands. Both the Gemini telescope and the GPI instrument are very complex systems. Our goal is that the combined telescope and instrument system may be run by one observer operating the instrument, and one operator controlling the telescope and the acquisition of light to the instrument. This requires a smooth integration between the two systems and easily operated control interfaces. We discuss the definition of the software and hardware interfaces, their implementation and testing, and the integration of the instrument with the telescope environment.
An Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC) uses a double-prism arrangement to nullify the vertical chromatic
dispersion introduced by the atmosphere at non-zero zenith distances.
The ADC installed in the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) was first tested in August 2012 while the instrument was
in the laboratory. GPI was installed at the Gemini South telescope in August 2013 and first light occurred later
that year on November 11th.
In this paper, we give an overview of the characterizations and performance of this ADC unit obtained in the
laboratory and on sky, as well as the structure of its control software.
The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS) began its on-sky commissioning in January 2011.
The system provides high order wide field corrections using a constellation of five Laser Guide Stars. In December 2011, commissioning culminated in images with a FWHM of 80±2mas at 1.65 microns (H band) over an 87 x 87 arcsecond field of view. The first images have already demonstrated the scientific potential of GeMS, and after more than a year of commissioning GeMS is finally close to completion and ready for science. This paper presents a general status of the GeMS project and summarizes the achievements made during more than a year of commissioning. The characterization of GeMS performance is presented in a companion paper: “GeMS on-sky results”, Rigaut et al. Here we report on the sub-systems' performance, discuss current limitations and present proposed upgrades. The integration of GeMS into the observatory operational scheme is detailed. Finally, we present the plans for next year's operations with GeMS.
GeMS, the Gemini Laser Guide Star Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics facility system, has seen first light in December 2011, and has already produced images with H band Strehl ratio in excess of 35% over fields of view of 85x85 arcsec, fulfilling the MCAO promise. In this paper, we report on these early results, analyze trends in performance, and concentrate on key or novel aspects of the system, like centroid gain estimation, on-sky non common path aberration estimation. We also present the first astrometric analysis, showing very encouraging results.
The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS} began its on-sky commissioning in January 20ll. The system provides high order wide-field corrections using a constellation of five Laser Guide Stars. In December 20ll, commissioning culminated in images with a FWHM of 80±2mas at 1.65 microns (H band} over an 87 x 87 arcsccond field of view. The first images have already demonstrated the scientific potential of GeMS, and after more than a year of commissioning GeMS is finally close to completion and ready for science. This paper presents a general status of the GeMS project and summarizes the achievements made during more than a year of commissioning. The characterization of GeMS performance is presented in a companion paper: "GeMS on-sky results" , R.igaut ct al. Here we report on the sub-systems' performance, discuss current limitations and present proposed upgrades. The integration of GeMS into the observatory operational scheme is detailed. Finally, we present the plans for next year's operations with GeMS.
GeMS (the Gemini Multi-conjugated adaptive optics System) is a facility instrument for the Gemini-South
telescope. It will deliver a uniform, diffraction-limited image quality at near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths over an
extended FoV or more than 1 arcmin across. GeMS is a unique and challenging project from the technological
point of view and because of its control complexity. The system includes 5 laser guide stars, 3 natural guide
stars, 3 deformable mirrors optically conjugated at 0, 4.5 and 9km and 1 tip-tilt mirror. After 10 years since
the beginning of the project, GeMS is finally reaching a state in which all the subsystems have been received,
integrated and, in the large part, tested. In this paper, we report on the progress and current status of the
different sub-systems with a particular emphasis on the calibrations, control and optimization of the AO bench.
CANOPUS is the facility instrument for the Gemini Multi Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS) wherein all the
adaptive optics mechanisms and associated electronic are tightly packed. At an early stage in the pre-commissioning
phase Gemini undertook the redesign and implementation of its chilled Ethylene Glycol Water (EGW) cooling system to
remove the heat generated by the electronic hardware. The electronic boards associated with the Deformable Mirrors
(DM) represent the highest density heat yielding components in CANOPUS and they are also quite sensitive to
overheating. The limited size of the two electronic thermal enclosures (TE) requires the use of highly efficient heat
exchangers (HX) coupled with powerful yet compact DC fans.
A systematic approach to comply with all the various design requirements brought about a thorough and robust solution
that, in addition to the core elements (HXs and fan), makes use of features such as high performance vacuum insulated
panels, vibration mitigation elements and several environment sensors. This paper describes the design and
implementation of the solution in the lab prior to delivering CANOPUS for commissioning.
We present Canopus, the AO bench for Gemini's Multi Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GEMS), a unique facility for
the Gemini South telescope located at Cerro Pachon in Chile. The MCAO system uses five laser beacons in conjunction
with different natural guide stars configurations. A deployable fold mirror located in the telescope Acquisition and
Guiding Unit (A&G) sends the telescope beam to the entrance of the bench. The beam is split within Canopus into three
main components: two sensing paths and the output corrected science beam. Light from the laser constellation (589nm)
is directed to five Shack-Hartman wave front sensors (E2V-39 CCDs read at 800Hz). Visible light from natural guide
stars is sent to three independent sensors arrays (SCPM AQ4C Avalanche Photodiodes modules in quad cell
arrangement) via optical fibers mounted on independent stages and a slow focus sensor (E2V-57 back-illuminated
CCD). The infrared corrected beam exits Canopus and goes to instrumentation for science. The Real Time Controller
(RTC) analyses wavefront signals and correct distortions using a fast tip-tilt mirror and three deformable mirrors
conjugated at different altitudes. The RTC also adjusts positioning of the laser beacon (Beam Transfer Optics fast
steering array), and handles miscellaneous offloads (M1 figure, M2 tip/tilt, LGS zoom and magnification corrections,
NGS probes adjustments etc.). Background optimizations run on a separate dedicated server to feed new parameters into
The Laser Service Enclosure (LSE) is an environmentally controlled ISO 7 clean room designed to house, protect and
provide environmental control for the Gemini South multi-conjugate adaptive optics laser system. The LSE is 8.0 meters
long, 2.5 meters wide and 2.5 meters high with a mass of approximately 5,100 kg. The LSE shall reside on a new
telescope Nasmyth platform named the Support Structure (SS). The SS is a three-dimensional beam and frame structure
designed to support the LSE and laser system under all loading conditions. This paper will review the system
requirements and describe the system hardware including optical, environmental, structural and operational issues as
well as the anticipated impact the system will have on the current telescope performance.
The Near Infrared Chronographic Imager (NICI) being commissioned at Gemini was upgraded with a more powerful
Chilled Water Glycol System to address early overheating problems. The previous system was replaced with a
completely new design favoring improved airflow and increased heat transfer capabilities. The research leading to this
upgrade showed a significant lack of cooling power of the original design. The solution was a combination of
commercial heat exchanger and fans and a custom built enclosure.
As a prime infrared telescope facility, Gemini is very much interested in maintaining the least amount of heat dissipated
to the ambient air. The results obtained through the implementation of this solution will be helpful in understanding the
state of other existing electronics enclosures as well as those for new instruments to come. With the advent of electronic
intensive AO systems, future electronics enclosures must take full advantage of improved cooling. This paper describes
the design and implementation phases of the project. The results under maximum operating capacity proved to be within
the expected theoretical values and were deemed successful.
The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics project was launched in April 1999 to become the Gemini South
AO facility in Chile. The system includes 5 laser guide stars, 3 natural guide stars and 3 deformable mirrors optically
conjugated at 0, 4.5 and 9km to achieve near-uniform atmospheric compensation over a 1 arc minute square field of
Sub-contracted systems with vendors were started as early as October 2001 and were all delivered by July
2007, but for the 50W laser (due around September 2008). The in-house development began in January 2006, and is
expected to be completed by the end of 2008 to continue with integration and testing (I&T) on the telescope. The on-sky
commissioning phase is scheduled to start during the first half of 2009.
In this general overview, we will first describe the status of each subsystem with their major requirements, risk
areas and achieved performance. Next we will present our plan to complete the project by reviewing the remaining steps
through I&T and commissioning on the telescope, both during day-time and at night-time. Finally, we will summarize
some management activities like schedules, resources and conclude with some lessons learned.