HiPERCAM is a high-speed camera for the study of rapid variability in the Universe. The project is funded by a Ɛ3.5M European Research Council Advanced Grant. HiPERCAM builds on the success of our previous instrument, ULTRACAM, with very significant improvements in performance thanks to the use of the latest technologies. HiPERCAM will use 4 dichroic beamsplitters to image simultaneously in 5 optical channels covering the u’g’r’I’z’ bands. Frame rates of over 1000 per second will be achievable using an ESO CCD controller (NGC), with every frame GPS timestamped. The detectors are custom-made, frame-transfer CCDs from e2v, with 4 low noise (2.5e-) outputs, mounted in small thermoelectrically-cooled heads operated at 180 K, resulting in virtually no dark current. The two reddest CCDs will be deep-depletion devices with anti-etaloning, providing high quantum efficiencies across the red part of the spectrum with no fringing. The instrument will also incorporate scintillation noise correction via the conjugate-plane photometry technique. The opto-mechanical chassis will make use of additive manufacturing techniques in metal to make a light-weight, rigid and temperature-invariant structure. First light is expected on the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma in 2017 (on which the field of view will be 10' with a 0.3"/pixel scale), with subsequent use planned on the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias on La Palma (on which the field of view will be 4' with a 0.11"/pixel scale) and the 3.5m New Technology Telescope in Chile.
CHOUGH is a small, fast project to provide an experimental on-sky high-order SCAO capability to the 4.2m WHT telescope. The basic goal has r0-sized sub- apertures with the aim of achieving high-Strehl ratios (> 0:5) in the visible (> 650 nm). It achieves this by including itself into the CANARY experiment: CHOUGH is mounted as a breadboard and intercepts the beam within CANARY via a periscope. In doing so, it takes advantage of the mature CANARY infrastructure, but add new AO capabilities. The key instruments that CHOUGH brings to CANARY are: an atmospheric dispersion compensator; a 32 × 32 (1000 actuator) MEMS deformable mirror; 31 × 31 wavefront sensor; and a complementary (narrow-field) imager. CANARY provides a 241-actuator DM, tip/tilt mirror, and comprehensive off-sky alignment facility together with a RTC. In this work, we describe the CHOUGH sub-systems: backbone, ADC, MEMS-DM, HOWFS, CAWS, and NFSI.
The UK ATC has developed a novel thermal actuator design as part of an OPTICON project focusing on the development of a Freeform Active Mirror Element (FAME). The actuator uses the well understood concept of thermal expansion to generate the required force and displacement. As heat is applied to the actuator material it expands linearly. A resistance temperature device (RTD) is embedded in the centre of the actuator and is used both as a heater and a sensor. The RTD temperature is controlled electronically by injecting a varying amount of current into the device whilst measuring the voltage across it. Temperature control of the RTD has been achieved to within 0.01°C.
A 3D printed version of the actuator is currently being used at the ATC to deform a mirror but it has several advantages that may make it suitable to other applications. The actuator is cheap to produce whilst obtaining a high accuracy and repeatability. The actuator design would be suitable for applications requiring large numbers of actuators with high precision.
FAME (Freeform Active Mirror Experiment - part of the FP7 OPTICON/FP7 development programme) intends to demonstrate the huge potential of active mirrors and freeform optical surfaces. Freeform active surfaces can help to address the new challenges of next generation astronomical instruments, which are bigger, more complex and have tighter specifications than their predecessors.
The FAME design consists of a pre-formed, deformable thin mirror sheet with an active support system. The thin face sheet provides a close to final surface shape with very high surface quality. The active array provides the support, and through actuation, the control to achieve final surface shape accuracy.
In this paper the development path, trade-offs and demonstrator design of the FAME active array is presented. The key step in the development process of the active array is the design of the mechanical structure and especially the optimization of the actuation node positions, where the actuator force is transmitted to the thin mirror sheet. This is crucial for the final performance of the mirror where the aim is to achieve an accurate surface shape, with low residual (high order) errors using the minimum number of actuators. These activities are based on the coupling of optical and mechanical engineering, using analytical and numerical methods, which results in an active array with optimized node positions and surface shape.
FAME is a four-year project and part of the OPTICON/FP7 program that is aimed at providing a breakthrough component for future compact, wide field, high resolution imagers or spectrographs, based on both Freeform technology, and the flexibility and versatility of active systems.
Due to the opening of a new parameter space in optical design, Freeform Optics are a revolution in imaging systems for a broad range of applications from high tech cameras to astronomy, via earth observation systems, drones and defense. Freeform mirrors are defined by a non-rotational symmetry of the surface shape, and the fact that the surface shape cannot be simply described by conicoids extensions, or off-axis conicoids. An extreme freeform surface is a significantly challenging optical surface, especially for UV/VIS/NIR diffraction limited instruments.
The aim of the FAME effort is to use an extreme freeform mirror with standard optics in order to propose an integrated system solution for use in future instruments. The work done so far concentrated on identification of compact, fast, widefield optical designs working in the visible, with diffraction limited performance; optimization of the number of required actuators and their layout; the design of an active array to manipulate the face sheet, as well as the actuator design.
In this paper we present the status of the demonstrator development, with focus on the different building blocks: an extreme freeform thin face sheet, the active array, a highly controllable thermal actuator array, and the metrology and control system.
We discuss the design of a 50mm diameter Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC) for The CANARY-Hosted Upgrade for High-Order Adaptive Optics (CHOUGH). Usually to avoid pupil actuator-lenslet array mismatch, the ADC is Customarily placed very close to the pupil plane. This design aims to achieve a non-pupil conjugated ADC suitable to be located in any place inside the collimated beam path, this is due to the restrictions given by CHOUGH optical relay. The ADC also needs to satisfy the very small pupil shift requirement, for pupil stability. The ADC is of the Amici prism type, made up of two plates of cemented double prisms. The two plates counter rotate correcting for the different Zenith angles, from the Zenith up to 60°.
The tropospheric distribution of greenhouse gases (GHGs) depends on surface flux variations, atmospheric chemistry and transport processes over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Accurate and precise atmospheric concentration observations of GHGs can be used to infer surface flux estimates, though their interpretation relies on unbiased atmospheric transport models. GHOST is a novel, compact shortwave infrared spectrometer which will observe tropospheric columns of CO2, CO, CH4 and H2O (along with the HDO/H2O ratio) during deployment on board the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. The primary science objectives of GHOST are to: 1) test atmospheric transport models; 2) evaluate satellite observations of GHG column observations over oceans; and 3) complement in-situ tropopause transition layer observations from other Global Hawk instruments. GHOST comprises a target acquisition module (TAM), a fibre slicer and feed system, and a multiple order spectrograph. The TAM is programmed to direct solar radiation reflected by the ocean surface into a fibre optic bundle. Incoming light is then split into four spectral bands, selected to optimise remote observations of GHGs. The design uses a single grating and detector for all four spectral bands. We summarise the GHOST concept and its objectives, and describe the instrument design and proposed deployment aboard the Global Hawk platform.
The measurement of the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) requires the simultaneous observation of a number of wavelength channels. Current and planned CO2 missions typically measure three wavebands using a hyperspectral sensor containing three spectrometers fed by an optical relay system to separate the wavelength channels. The use of one spectrometer per wavelength channel is inefficient in terms of number of detectors required and the mass and volume. This paper describes the development of an alternative solution which uses two key technologies to enable a more compact design; an image slicer mirror placed at the focal plane, and a multiple slit spectrometer operating in multiple diffraction orders. Both of these technologies are in common use in advanced astronomical spectrometers on large telescopes. The imager slicer mirror technology, as used on the James Webb Space Telescope instrument MIRI, enables the spectrometer to be illuminated with three input slits, each at a different wavelength. The spectrometer then disperses the light into multiple diffraction orders, via an echelle grating, to simultaneously capture spectra for three wavelength channels.
The Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) hosts, starting in April 2012, the visible spectrograph HARPS-N. It is based
on the design of its predecessor working at ESO's 3.6m telescope, achieving unprecedented results on radial velocity
measurements of extrasolar planetary systems. The spectrograph's ultra-stable environment, in a temperature-controlled
vacuum chamber, will allow measurements under 1 m/s which will enable the characterization of rocky, Earth-like
planets. Enhancements from the original HARPS include better scrambling using octagonal section fibers with a shorter
length, as well as a native tip-tilt system to increase image sharpness, and an integrated pipeline providing a complete set
Observations in the Kepler field will be the main goal of HARPS-N, and a substantial fraction of TNG observing time
will be devoted to this follow-up. The operation process of the observatory has been updated, from scheduling
constraints to telescope control system. Here we describe the entire instrument, along with the results from the first
Most of the sky is black: picking off the interesting bits is the challenge. By placing pick-off mirrors in the focal plane of
an instrument, it is possible to select light from only the desired sub-fields. The Micro Autonomous Positioning System
(MAPS) is a method for maneuvering pick-off mirrors into position by giving each mirror its own set of wheels. This
paper details the metrology algorithms that are being developed to provide real-time feedback of the robots’ positions.
This will be achieved through imaging high-resolution targets on the robots and analysing the power floor on which they
move. Early tests show that the imaging system is capable of resolving linear motions of lμm and rotation of <1mrad, for
an operating area of 25 x 20 cm.