The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) is a next-generation observatory, designed to provide highly multiplexed, multi-object spectroscopy over a wide field of view. The observatory will consist of (1) a telescope with an 11.25 m aperture, (2) a 1.5 square-degree science field of view, (3) fibre optic positioning and transmission systems, and (4) a suite of low (R=3000), moderate (R=6000) and high resolution (R=40,000) spectrographs. The Fibre Transmission System (FiTS) consists of 4332 optical fibres, designed to transmit the light from the telescope prime focus to the dedicated spectrographs. The ambitious science goals of MSE require the Fibre Transmission System to deliver performance well beyond the current state of the art for multi-fibre systems, e.g., the sensitivity to observe magnitude 24 objects (@ SNR=2) over a very broad wavelength range (0.37 – 1.8 μm) while achieving relative spectrophotometric accuracy of < 3% and radial velocity precision of 20 km/s (@ SNR=5). This paper details the design of the FiTS fibre system. It places FiTS into context with existing and planned spectroscopic facilities, such as Subaru/PFS, KPNO/DESI, ESO/4MOST and Gemini/GRACES. The results and lessons learned from GRACES are particularly applicable, since FiTS and GRACES share many team members, including industrial partner FiberTech Optica (Kitchener, ON). The FiTS system consists of 57 identical fibre cables. These cables have been designed to be modular, facilitating efficient construction and automated acceptance testing. Each cable consists of 76 fibres, including 57 fibres feeding light to the low and moderate resolution spectrographs and 19 fibres feeding the high-resolution spectrographs. Thus, the MSE/FiTS consists of 4332 fibres in total. Novel construction techniques utilizing continuous high-NA (f/2) fibres, pioneered by FiberTech Optica, are outlined and test results showing < 5% focal ratio degradation (FRD) in V-band are presented. The effect on FRD from varying the input f/# is also shown. Where test data is unavailable, system error budgets have been created to assess design choices on options such as fibre material, anti-reflection coatings, and fibre-optic connectors
We describe the design of the fiber-optic coupling and light transfer system of the WISDOM (WIYN Spectrograph for DOppler Monitoring) instrument. As a next-generation Precision Radial Velocity (PRV) spectrometer, WISDOM incorporates lessons learned from HARPS about thermal, pressure, and gravity control, but also takes new measures to stabilize the spectrograph illumination, a subject that has been overlooked until recently. While fiber optic links provide more even illumination than a conventional slit, careful engineering of the interface is required to realize their full potential. Conventional round fiber core geometries have been used successfully in conjunction with optical double scramblers, but such systems still retain a memory of the input illumination that is visible in systems seeking sub-m/s PRV precision. Noncircular fibers, along with advanced optical scramblers, and careful optimization of the spectrograph optical system itself are therefore necessary to study Earth-sized planets. For WISDOM, we have developed such a state-of-the-art fiber link concept. Its design is driven primarily by PRV requirements, but it also manages to preserve high overall throughput. Light from the telescope is coupled into a set of six, 32 μm diameter octagonal core fibers, as high resolution is achieved via pupil slicing. The low-OH, step index, fused silica, FBPI-type fibers are custom designed for their numerical aperture that matches the convergence of the feeding beam and thus minimizes focal ratio degradation at the output. Given the demanding environment at the telescope the fiber end tips are mounted in a custom fused silica holder, providing a perfect thermal match. We used a novel process, chemically assisted photo etching, to manufacture this glass fiber holder. A single ball-lens scrambler is inserted into the 25m long fibers. Employing an anti-reflection (AR) coated, high index, cubic-zirconia ball lens the alignment of the scrambler components are straightforward, as the fiber end tips (also AR coated) by design touch the ball lens and thus eliminate spacing tolerances. A clever and simple opto-mechanical design and assembly process assures micron-level self-alignment, yielding a ~87% throughput and a scrambling gain of >20,000. To mitigate modal noise the individual fibers then subsequently combined into a pair of rectangular fibers, providing a much larger modal area thanks to the 34x106 micron diameter. To minimize slit height, and thus better utilize detector area, the octagonal cores are brought very close together in this transition. The two outer fibers are side polished at one side, into a D-shaped cladding, while the central fiber has a dual side polish. These tapered, side-flattening operations are executed with precise alignment to the octagonal core. Thus the cores of the 3 fibers are brought together and aligned within few microns of each other before spliced onto the rectangular fiber. Overall throughput kept high and FRD at bay by careful management of fiber mounting, vacuum feed-through, application of efficient AR coatings, and implementation of thermal breaks that allow for independent expansion of the fibers and the protective tubing.
We report results of the extensive development work done on the 270-m optical fiber link for the GRACES project and a preliminary investigations into a high numerical aperture fiber for astronomy. The Gemini Remote Access CFHT ESPaDOnS Spectrograph (GRACES) is an instrumentation experiment to link ESPaDOnS, a bench-mounted highresolution optical spectrograph at CFHT, to the Gemini-North telescope with an optical fiber link. A 270-m fiber link with less than 14% Focal Ratio Degradation (FRD) has been developed jointly by HIA and FiberTech Optica for the experiment. A preliminary study has been conducted by HIA into a high numerical aperture fiber (0.26 numerical aperture) with the intended application of wide field optical spectrographs fiber fed from the telescope prime focus. The Laboratory test results of FRD, transmission, and stability for the GRACES fiber link and preliminary FRD measurements of the high numerical aperture fiber tests are reported.