The Keck Planet Finder (KPF) is a fiber-fed, high-resolution, high-stability spectrometer in development at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory for the W.M. Keck Observatory. KPF is designed to characterize exoplanets via Doppler spectroscopy with a goal of a single measurement precision of 0.3 m s-1 or better, however its resolution and stability will enable a wide variety of astrophysical pursuits. Here we provide post-preliminary design review design updates for several subsystems, including: the main spectrometer, the fabrication of the Zerodur optical bench; the data reduction pipeline; fiber agitator; fiber cable design; fiber scrambler; VPH testing results and the exposure meter.
We present the design and test results of a double-scrambler and fiber agitator system for the Keck Planet Finder (KPF) spectrograph. The mechanical agitator for modal noise suppression is constructed from two linear stages with the fibers mounted in a “W” curve. When driven back-and-forth at different rates, the stages change the position of the fiber curves, and hence vary the modes propagating through the fiber. Near-field temporal centroid shifts caused by modal-noise are reduced by a factor of 100 by the agitator, while mid-range spatial frequencies have reduced power by a factor of ∼300 in the near-field, and ∼1000 in the far-field. The scrambling system incorporates two octagonal fibers, and a scrambler consisting of two identical cemented lenses ∼20 cm apart, which exchanges the optical near- and far-fields of the fibers. The scrambler shows scrambling gains >16,000 in the near-field, and >40,000 in the far-field. The measured throughput efficiency of 99.3% of the expected maximum demonstrates that scrambler-induced focal ratio degradation (FRD) is minimal. The scrambler also serves as the feed-through into the vacuum chamber where the spectrograph is housed, thereby removing concerns about stressing the fibers, and introducing FRD, at this interface. Our illumination stabilization system, consisting of two octagonal fibers, a two lens scrambler, and a mechanical agitator, produces very homogeneous fiber output in both the near and far-fields. When coupled to the Keck Planet Finder spectrograph, this system provides illumination stability corresponding to a velocity of 0.30 m s−1 .