METIS is the Mid-infrared Extremely large Telescope Imager and Spectrograph, one of the first generation instruments of ESO’s 39m ELT. All scientific observing modes of METIS require adaptive optics (AO) correction close to the diffraction limit. Demanding constraints are introduced by the foreseen coronagraphy modes, which require highest angular resolution and PSF stability. Further design drivers for METIS and its AO system are imposed by the wavelength regime: observations in the thermal infrared require an elaborate thermal, baffling and masking concept. METIS will be equipped with a Single-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (SCAO) system. An integral part of the instrument is the SCAO module. It will host a pyramid type wavefront sensor, operating in the near-IR and located inside the cryogenic environment of the METIS instrument. The wavefront control loop as well as secondary control tasks will be realized within the AO Control System, as part of the instrument. Its main actuators will be the adaptive quaternary mirror and the field stabilization mirror of the ELT. In this paper we report on the phase B design work for the METIS SCAO system; the opto-mechanical design of the SCAO module as well as the control loop concepts and analyses. Simulations were carried out to address a number of important aspects, such as the impact of the fragmented pupil of the ELT on wavefront reconstruction. The trade-off that led to the decision for a pyramid wavefront sensor will be explained, as well as the additional control tasks such as pupil stabilization and compensation of non-common path aberrations.
METIS is one the first three instruments on the E-ELT. Apart from diffraction limited imaging, METIS will provide coronagraphy and medium resolution slit spectroscopy over the 3 – 19μm range, as well as high resolution (R ~ 100,000) integral field spectroscopy from 2.9 – 5.3μm, including a mode with extended instantaneous wavelength coverage. The unique combination of these observing capabilities, makes METIS the ideal instrument for the study of circumstellar disks and exoplanets, among many other science areas. In this paper we provide an update of the relevant science drivers, the METIS observing modes, the status of the simulator and the data analysis. We discuss the preliminary design of the optical system, which is driven by the need to calibrate observations at thermal IR wavelengths on a six-mirror ELT. We present the expected adaptive optics performance and the measures taken to enable high contrast imaging. We describe the opto-mechanical system, the location of METIS on the Nasmyth instrument platform, and conclude with an update on critical subsystem components, such as the immersed grating and the focal plane detectors. In summary, the work on METIS has taken off well and is on track for first light in 2025.
The 1.1 THz multi-pixel heterodyne receiver will be mounted in the Nasmyth A cabin of the 12 m APEX telescope on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile. The receiver will cover the spectral window of 1000 - 1080 GHz, where important spectral lines like CO 9-8 at 1036.9 GHz, a tracer of warm and dense gas and OH+ at 1033 GHz and NH+ at 1012.6 GHz, both important for the study of chemical networks in the ISM, are located. The multi-pixel receiver greatly enhances the science output under the difficult observing conditions in this frequency range. Two 9-pixel focal plane sub-arrays on orthogonal polarizations are installed in easily removable cartridges. We developed a new thermal link to connect the cartridges to the cryostat. Our thermal link is an all-metal design: aluminum and Invar. All the optics is fully reflective, thus avoiding the absorption and reflection losses of dielectric lenses and reducing standing waves in the receiver. To guaranty internal optics alignment, we employ a monolithic integrated optics approach for the cold optics and the Focal Plane Unit (FPU) optics modeled after the CHARM (Compact Heterodyne Array Receiver Module) concept. The receiver uses synthesizer-driven solid-state local oscillators (LO) and the mixers will be balanced SIS mixers, which are essentially based on the design of the on-chip balanced SIS mixers at 490 GHz developed in our institute. Singleended HEB mixers are used for the laboratory tests of the optics. The LO power distribution is accommodated behind the FPU optics. It is composed of the LO optics, which includes a collimating Fourier grating, and an LO distribution plate to supply LO signal to each of the 9 pixels of the sub-array. Different options for the LO coupling design and fabrication are being analyzed and will be based on in-house hybrid waveguide/planar technology. We summarize the receiver project with emphasis on the cryogenics and the optics and present laboratory test results of the cryogenics, including the thermal link's performance. Beam pattern measurements of the receiver optics are scheduled for the coming days, but unfortunately could not be included in the current paper.
ArTeMiS is a submillimeter camera planned to work simultaneously at 450 μm, 350 μm and 200 μm by use of 3 focal planes of, respectively, 8, 8 and 4 bolometric arrays, each one made of 16 x18 pixels. In July 2013, with a preliminary setting reduced to 4 modules and to the 350 μm band, ArTeMiS was installed successfully at the Cassegrain focus of APEX, a 12 m antenna located on the Chajnantor plateau, Chile. After the summary of the scientific requirements, we describe the main lines of the ArTeMiS nominal optical design with its rationale and performances. This optical design is highly constrained by the room allocation available in the Cassegrain cabin. It is an all-reflective design including a retractable pick off mirror, a warm Fore Optics to image the focal plane of the telescope inside the cryostat, and the cold optics. The large size of the field of view at the focal plane of the telescope, 72 mm x 134 mm for the 350 μm and 450 μm beams, leads to the use of biconical toroidal mirrors. In this way, the nominal image quality obtained on the bolometric arrays is only just diffraction limited at some corners of the field of view. To keep a final PSF as much uniform as possible across the field of view, we have used the technic of manufacturing by diamond turning to machine the mirrors. This approach, while providing high accuracy on the shape of the mirrors, made easier the control of the two sub units, the Fore Optics and the cold optics, in the visible domain and at room temperature. Moreover, the use of the similar material (Aluminium alloy 6061) for the optical bench and the mirrors with their mount ensures a homothetic shrinking during the cooling down. The alignment protocol, drew up at the early step of the study, is also presented. It required the implementation of two additional mechanisms inside the cryostat to check the optical axis of the cold optics, in the real conditions of operation of ArTeMiS. In this way, it was possible to pre-align the Fore Optics sub unit with respect to the cold optics. Finally, despite the high constraints of the operating conditions of APEX, this protocol allowed to align ArTeMiS with respect to the telescope in a single adjustment. The first images obtained on the sky, Saturn with its rings, are given.
ArTeMiS is a sub-millimetre camera to be operated, on the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment Telescope (APEX). The ultimate goal is to observe simultaneously in three atmospheric spectral windows in the region of 200, 350 and 450 microns. We present the filtering scheme, which includes the cryostat window, thermal rejection elements, band separation and spectral isolation, which has been adopted for this instrument. This was achieved using a combination of scattering, Yoshinaga filters, organic dyes and Ulrich type embedded metallic mesh devices. Design of the quasi-optical mesh components has been developed by modelling with an in-house developed code. For the band separating dichroics, which are used with an incidence angle of 35 deg, further modelling has been performed with HFSS (Ansoft). Spectral characterization of the components for the 350 and 450 bands have been performed with a Martin-Puplett Polarizing Fourier Transform Spectrometer. While for the first commissioning and observation campaign, one spectral band only was operational (350 microns), we report on the design of the 200, 350 and 450 micron bands.
On August 8, 2001, Melipal became the fourth Unit Telescope of ESO's VLT to start regular scientific operations. Accordingly, the Paranal Science Operations team is now providing support for execution of observation programmes of the astronomical community on all four individual 8 m telescopes of the VLT. The operational model developed and applied by this team is based on the concept that optimal exploitation of the unique potential of the VLT and of its instrumentation requires support by dedicated qualified and experienced astronomers. This applies to observing both in visitor mode and in service (queue) mode, between which VLT operations are shared approximately in a 50/50 proportion. The Paranal Science Operations team has been staffed to implement the above-mentioned operational concept in collaboration with a mountain-based engineering team for technical support, and with groups based at ESO's headquarters in Germany for front- and back-end contacts with the astronomical community. Together with these teams, and based on the experience acquired since the start of operations of the first UT in April 1999, operational procedures have been refined and new operational tools have been implemented. In this process, the aspects that are particularly revelant for on-site operations include the short-term scheduling of service mode operations, and the reporting and tracking of the service mode programme execution status.