MATISSE is the second-generation mid-infrared spectrograph and imager for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at Paranal. This new interferometric instrument will allow significant advances by opening new avenues in various fundamental research fields: studying the planet-forming region of disks around young stellar objects, understanding the surface structures and mass loss phenomena affecting evolved stars, and probing the environments of black holes in active galactic nuclei. As a first breakthrough, MATISSE will enlarge the spectral domain of current optical interferometers by offering the L and M bands in addition to the N band. This will open a wide wavelength domain, ranging from 2.8 to 13 μm, exploring angular scales as small as 3 mas (L band) / 10 mas (N band). As a second breakthrough, MATISSE will allow mid-infrared imaging - closure-phase aperture-synthesis imaging - with up to four Unit Telescopes (UT) or Auxiliary Telescopes (AT) of the VLTI. Moreover, MATISSE will offer a spectral resolution range from R ∼ 30 to R ∼ 5000. Here, we present one of the main science objectives, the study of protoplanetary disks, that has driven the instrument design and motivated several VLTI upgrades (GRA4MAT and NAOMI). We introduce the physical concept of MATISSE including a description of the signal on the detectors and an evaluation of the expected performances. We also discuss the current status of the MATISSE instrument, which is entering its testing phase, and the foreseen schedule for the next two years that will lead to the first light at Paranal.
MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) is the spectro-interferometer for the VLTI of the European Southern Observatory, operating in near and mid-infrared, and combining up to four beams from the unit or the auxiliary telescopes. MATISSE will offer new breakthroughs in the study of circumstellar environments by allowing the multispectral mapping of the material distribution, the gas and essentially the dust.
The instrument consists in a warm optical system (WOP) accepting four optical beams and relaying them after a dichroic splitting (for the L and M- and N- spectral bands) to cold optical benches (COB) located in two separate cryostats. The Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur is in charge of the WOP providing the spectral band separation, optical path equalization and modulation, pupil positioning, beam anamorphosis, beam commutation, and calibration. NOVA-ASTRON is in charge of the COB providing the functions of beam selection, reduction of thermal background emission, spatial filtering, pupil transfer, photometry and interferometry splitting, additional beam anamorphosis, spectral filtering, polarization selection, image dispersion, and image combination. The Max Planck Institut für Radio Astronomie is in charge of the operation and performance validation of the two detectors, a HAWAII-2RG from Teledyne for the L- and M- bands and a Raytheon AQUARIUS for the N-band. Both detectors are provided by ESO. The Max Planck Institut für Astronomie is in charge of the electronics and the cryostats for which the requirements on space limitations and vibration stability resulted on very specific and stringent decisions on the design.
The integration and test of the COB: the two cryogenic systems, including the cold benches and the detectors, have been conducted at MPIA in parallel with the integration of the WOP at OCA. At the end of 2014, the complete instrument was integrated at OCA. Following this integration, a period of interface and alignment between the COB and the WOP took place resulting in the first interference fringes in the L-band during summer 2015 and the first interference fringes in the N-ban in March 2016.
After a period of optimization of both the instrument reliability and the environmental working conditions, the test plan is presently being conducted in order to evaluate the complete performance of the instrument and its compliance with the high-level requirements. The present paper gives the first results of the alignment, integration and test phase of the MATISSE instrument.
MATISSE is the mid-infrared spectrograph and imager for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at Paranal. This second generation interferometry instrument will open new avenues in the exploration of our Universe. Mid-infrared interferometry with MATISSE will allow significant advances in various fundamental research fields: studies of disks around young stellar objects where planets form and evolve, surface structures and mass loss of stars in late evolutionary stages, and the environments of black holes in active galactic nuclei. MATISSE is a unique instrument. As a first breakthrough it will enlarge the spectral domain used by optical interferometry by offering the L & M bands in addition to the N band, opening a wide wavelength domain, ranging from 2.8 to 13 μm on angular scales of 3 mas (L/M band) / 10 mas (N band). As a second breakthrough, it will allow mid-infrared imaging – closure-phase aperture-synthesis imaging – with up to four Unit Telescopes (UT) or Auxiliary Telescopes (AT) of the VLTI. MATISSE will offer various ranges of spectral resolution between R~30 to ~5000. In this article, we present some of the main science objectives that have driven the instrument design. We introduce the physical concept of MATISSE including a description of the signal on the detectors and an evaluation of the expected performance and discuss the project status. The operations concept will be detailed in a more specific future article, illustrating the observing templates operating the instrument, the data reduction and analysis, and the image reconstruction software.
MATISSE is a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four Unit Telescopes or Auxiliary
Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory.
MATISSE will constitute an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI. New characteristics present in
MATISSE will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material, the gas and essentially the dust, in the
circumstellar environments by using the mid-infrared band coverage extended to L, M and N spectral bands. The four
beam combination of MATISSE provides an efficient uv-coverage: 6 visibility points are measured in one set and 4
closure phase relations which can provide aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime.
We give an overview of the instrument including the expected performances and a view of the Science Case. We present
how the instrument would be operated. The project involves the collaborations of several agencies and institutes: the
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur of Nice and the INSU-CNRS in Paris, the Max Planck Institut für Astronomie of
Heidelberg; the University of Leiden and the NOVA-ASTRON Institute of Dwingeloo, the Max Planck Institut für
Radioastronomie of Bonn, the Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik of Kiel, the Vienna University and the
MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) is the future spectro-interferometer of the
European Southern Observatory VLT operating in the spectral bands L, M and N, and combining four beams from the
telescopes UTs or ATs. This paper describes the concept, the specifications and the expected performances of the
instrument. The requirements have been established including transmission and contrast degradation budgets. An
assessment of the performances is given in this paper taking into account the instrument and VLTI characteristics.
ESPRI is a project which aims at searching for and characterizing extra-solar planets by dual-beam astrometry with
PRIMA@VLTI. Differential Delay Lines (DDL) are fundamental for achieving the micro-arcseconds accuracy required
by the scientific objective. Our Consortium, consisting of the Geneva Observatory, the Max-Planck Institut for
Astronomy Heidelberg, and the Landessternwarte Heidelberg, in collaboration with ESO, has built and tested these
DDLs successfully and will install them in summer 2008 at the VLTI. These DDLs consist of high quality cat's eyes
displaced on a parallel beam-mechanics and by means of a two-stage actuation with a precision of 5 nm over a stroke
length of 70 mm. Over the full range, a bandwidth of about 400 Hz is achieved. The DDLs are operated in vacuum. We
shall present, in this paper, their design and their exceptional performances.
PRIMA, the instrument for Phase-Referenced Imaging and Micro-arcsecond Astrometry at the VLTI, is currently being
developed at ESO. PRIMA will implement the dual-feed capability, at first for two UTs or ATs, to enable simultaneous
interferometric observations of two objects that are separated by up to 1 arcmin. PRIMA is designed to perform narrow-angle
astrometry in K-band with two ATs as well as phase-referenced aperture synthesis imaging with instruments like
Amber and Midi. In order to speed up the full implementation of the 10 microarcsec astrometric capability of the VLTI
and to carry out a large astrometric planet search program, a consortium lead by the Observatoire de Genève, Max
Planck Institute for Astronomy, and Landessternwarte Heidelberg, has built Differential Delay Lines for PRIMA and is
developing the astrometric observation preparation and data reduction software. When the facility becomes fully
operational in 2009, we will use PRIMA to carry out a systematic astrometric Exoplanet Search program, called ESPRI.
In this paper, we describe the narrow-angle astrometry measurement principle, give an overview of the ongoing hardand
software developments, and outline our anticipated astrometric exoplanet search program.
MATISSE is foreseen as a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four UTs/ATs of the Very
Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory. The related science case study
demonstrates the enormous capability of a new generation mid-infrared beam combiner.
MATISSE will constitute an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI. MIDI is a very successful
instrument which offers a perfect combination of spectral and angular resolution. New characteristics present in
MATISSE will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material (typically dust) in the circumstellar
environments by using a wide mid-infrared band coverage extended to L, M and N spectral bands. The four beam
combination of MATISSE provides an efficient UV-coverage : 6 visibility points are measured in one set and 4 closure
phase relations which can provide aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime.
The last step in designing and building instruments are the verification and acceptance tests of the assembled units and of
the final instrument. For instruments, which are engineered to work at the limit of feasibility, these tests must be accurate
and stable at a level much better than the expected performance of the instrument. Particularly for interferometric
instruments, this requires special care for the test planning and implementation in order to achieve the necessary
performance. This paper describes the verification and acceptance tests of the PRIMA DDL optics in terms of wavefront
error and tilt requirements as well as the assembling and aligning accuracy. We demonstrate the conformity of the optics
and point out the limitations of the test methods.
A first generation of VLTI (Very Large Telescopes Interferometer) focal instruments, AMBER in the near-infrared and MIDI in the mid-infrared, has been already integrated and tested. New and important science results have been obtained. These instruments combine two (for MIDI) or three (for AMBER) beams coming from the eight telescopes installed at Cerro Paranal (four 8-meters and four 1.8-meters telescopes). In order to improve the capabilities of the interferometer and to engage a new scientific prospective, the second generation of VLTI instruments is currently under study. MATISSE belongs to this second generation. MATISSE objective is the image reconstruction. It will extend the astrophysical potential of the VLTI by overcoming the ambiguities existing in the interpretation of simple visibility measurements. It is a spectro-interferometer combining up to four beams with a large spectral coverage ranging from 3 to 25 μm (L, M, N and Q bands). Different spectral resolutions (between 30 and 1500) are foreseen. MATISSE will measure closure phase relations thus offering an efficient capability for image reconstruction. The concept of MATISSE is presented in this paper. The recombination mode of MATISSE is similar to the AMBER beam combination, but has been adapted to the constraints specific to the mid-infrared domain.
Our objective is the development of mid-infrared imaging at the VLTI. The related science case study demonstrates the enormous capability of a new generation mid-infrared beam combiner. MATISSE will constitute an evolution of the two-beam interferometric instrument MIDI by increasing the number of recombined beams up to four. MIDI is a very successful instrument which offers a perfect combination of spectral and angular resolution. New characteristics present in MATISSE will give access to the mapping and the distribution of the material (typically dust) in the circumstellar environments by using a wide mid-infrared band coverage extended to L, M, N and Q spectral bands. The four beam combination of MATISSE provides an efficient UV-coverage: 6 visibility points are measured in one set and 4 closure phase relations which can provide for the first time aperture synthesis images in the mid-infrared spectral regime. The mid-infrared spectral domain is very relevant for the study of the environment of various astrophysical sources. Our science case studies show the wide field of applications of MATISSE. They will be illustrated in the first part of this presentation through the perspective of imaging the circumstellar environments/discs of young stellar objects. The MATISSE characteristics will be given in a second part of the presentation.
MIDI (MID-infrared Interferometric instrument) gave its first N-band (8 to 13 micron) stellar interference fringes on the VLTI (Very Large Telescope Interferometer) at Cerro Paranal Observatory (Chile) in December 2002. An lot of work had to be done to transform it, from a successful physics experiment, into a premium science instrument which is offered to the worldwide community of astronomers since September 2003. The process of "paranalization", carried out by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in collaboration with the MIDI consortium, has aimed to make MIDI simpler to use, more reliable, and more efficient. We describe in this paper these different aspects of paranalization (detailing the improvement brought to the observation software) and the lessons we have learnt. Some general rules, for bringing an interferometric instrument into routine operation in an observatory, can be drawn from the experience with MIDI. We also report our experience of the first "service mode" run of an interferometer (VLTI + MIDI) that took place in April 2004.
APreS-MIDI (APerture Synthesis in the MID-Infrared) instrument function is to recombine 4 telescope beams of the VLTI. Interference fringes are sampled in the pupil plane. The optical principle uses "image densification". It is perfectly adapted for reconstructing images by aperture synthesis at 10mm. This principle could be used for building a new generation 10mm instrument, but instead of making a totally new instrument, we propose the design of an optical module that can supply the current MIDI-VLTI instrument with 4 beams.
This document shows the first results of the study of the environment of the S star T Sagittarii. Observational constraints are obtained through 10 μm long baseline interferometry with MIDI at the VLTI. Models of the dust envelope are simulated with a monte-carlo radiative transfer code.
We are studying an optical concept aiming at recombining four mid-infrared telescope beams, where interference fringes are sampled in the pupil plane. Such a principle is perfectly adapted for reconstructing images by aperture synthesis with teh VLTI. It could be used for building a new generation 10 μm instrument, but instead of doing a totally new instrument, we propose the design of an optical module that can supply the surrent MIDI-VLTI instrument with 4 beams. The combined use of this module together with the MIDI instrument is the project called APreS-MIDI. Such an instrument at the VLTI focus will have an unique and very strong astrophysical potential.
The first science instrument for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), the Mid-infrared instrument MIDI, will be commissioned in November 2002 with anticipated first fringe during that commissioning run on the 40-cm Siderostats and the 8.2-meter Unit Telescopes. In this paper we describe scientific and technical observing modes (also referred to as observation procedures) developed for MIDI and discuss in detail how an observing run with the instrument is planned.
MIDI is built by a consortium lead by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA Heidelberg), with contributions from among others ASTRON (Dwingeloo, The Netherlands), Leiden Observatory, University of Amsterdam, Paris Observatory, University of Groningen, the Kiepenheuer-Institut fur Sonnenpysik at Freiburg, Thuringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, and the Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur.
Interferometric observations at 10 micron combine the difficulties of the relatively new interferometric techniques with the problems of overcoming the strong and highly variable thermal background which are typical of thermal infrared observations. In particular, the detector subsystem must comply to strict requirements in terms of stability, of read noise, and of read out speed. Here we present the results obtained during laboratory test of MIDI, the Mid-IR interferometric instrument for VLTI. We selected as detector for the MIDI instrument a Raytheon 320x240 IBC array. We will discuss some of the aspects of the foreseen operation of MIDI, and the methods adopted to implement those on our detector system. We will show our results on detector stability, on its performances (in particular Quantum efficiency and read-out noise), and on the reaction to high fluxes. By using the possibility of hardware windowing, frame times of the order of 2 ms can be reached. Finally, we will show the characteristics of the detector when used in interferometric mode during tests of the whole MIDI instrument with both monochromatic and broad band calibration sources.
The mid-infrared interferometric instrument MIDI is currently undergoing testing in preparation for commissioning on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer VLTI at the end of this year 2002. It will perform interferometric observations over the 8 μm - 13 μm wavelength range, with a spatial resolution of 20 milliarcsec, a spectral resolution of up to 250, and an anticipated point source sensitivity of N = 4 mag or 1 Jy for self-fringe tracking, which will be the only observing mode during the first months of operation. We describe the layout of the instrument and the performance during laboratory tests, both for broadband and spectrally resolved observing modes. We also briefly outline the planned guaranteed time observations.
To coordinate the on-going work of the various interferometric groups at German institutions the German Center for Infrared and Optical Interferometry, called FrInGe, was created in September 2001.
The center will coordinate and support the German activities in obtaining, reducing and interpreting astronomical interferometric data from optical to mid-infrared wavelengths. The center will keep a publication archive, an interferometric data base, and will carry out tutorials for training of the next generation of astronomers in optical and infrared interferometry. In addition, FrInGe has established cooperations with other interferometric centers in Europe.
The paper describes the cryogenic design of the 8 - 12 micrometers beamcombiner instrument MIDI for the VLTI. Because the instrument is very sensitive at the whole thermal wavelength region, all optics and mechanics inside the dewar have to be cooled to temperatures at 40 K. The main contribution to the heat load is the radiation. We propose to use one liquid Nitrogen cooled radiation shield and a second shield cooled by the first stage of a closed cycle cooler with a refrigeration capacity of 35 W at 50 K and 1.5 W at 4.2 K. The main problems by using a closed cycle cooler are the vibrations which can disturb the interferometric measurements. We measured the vibrations during cooler operation and checked different vibration isolation possibilities.
The mid-infrared interferometric instrument (MIDI) is planned to become operative at the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) during the year 2001. The first version of MIDI is designed for use of two telescope beams at 10 micrometers wavelength. We here present an overview of some of the scientific objectives. The preparatory work under progress, before first VLTI observations, consists in studying the feasibility of different astrophysical projects (expected visibility, required absolute accuracy of the measurement, required observing time, procedure of observation, and VLTI baseline configuration). As examples we will discuss the observations of disks around young stellar objects, of active galactic nuclei, of extrasolar planets and of some evolved stars.
We describe principles, design and present status of MIDI, the mid-infrared interferometric instrument for the VLTI, which is planned to come into operation at the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer during the second half of 2001.
In this paper we present the results of the first tests performed at MPIA on the detector system of MIDI, the Mid-IR interferometric instrument for VLTI. Interferometric observations at 10 micrometers , while having advantages with respect to near-IR and optical wavelengths in terms of seeing and coherence time, must face the problem of the strong thermal background coming from the telescope and from the sky. In order to reach background limited performances in the observing conditions foreseen for MIDI at Paranal, the detector and the associated read-out electronics must comply to strict requirements. The different MIDI observing modes are characterized by widely different values of background per pixel; in high background conditions the main problem is to avoid saturation, while in medium-background conditions we are close to read-out noise limited conditions. Therefore, large integration capacity and high speed must be reached with low read-out noise. The read-out electronic chain is described; at maximum speed, one full 16-bit 320 X 240 pixels2 frame can be read in 3.6 msec. Since only a portion of the detector's field of view will contain useful information, only selected parts of the detector will be read, thus increasing the frame rate. We briefly review the different read-out strategies adopted; the correspondent operations on the detector are described. We also present the results of the first tests performed at MPIA on the whole detector subsystem, using a bare multiplexer of the selected detector (a 320 X 240 Si:As IBC array from Raytheon Corp.).