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Proceedings Paper

Spherical grating spectrometers
Author(s): Darragh O'Donoghue; J. Christopher Clemens
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Paper Abstract

We describe designs for spectrometers employing convex dispersers. The Offner spectrometer was the first such instrument; it has almost exclusively been employed on satellite platforms, and has had little impact on ground-based instruments. We have learned how to fabricate curved Volume Phase Holographic (VPH) gratings and, in contrast to the planar gratings of traditional spectrometers, describe how such devices can be used in optical/infrared spectrometers designed specifically for curved diffraction gratings. Volume Phase Holographic gratings are highly efficient compared to conventional surface relief gratings; they have become the disperser of choice in optical / NIR spectrometers. The advantage of spectrometers with curved VPH dispersers is the very small number of optical elements used (the simplest comprising a grating and a spherical mirror), as well as illumination of mirrors off axis, resulting in greater efficiency and reduction in size. We describe a “Half Offner" spectrometer, an even simpler version of the Offner spectrometer. We present an entirely novel design, the Spherical Transmission Grating Spectrometer (STGS), and discuss exemplary applications, including a design for a double-beam spectrometer without any requirement for a dichroic. This paradigm change in spectrometer design offers an alternative to all-refractive astronomical spectrometer designs, using expensive, fragile lens elements fabricated from CaF2 or even more exotic materials. The unobscured mirror layout avoids a major drawback of the previous generation of catadioptric spectrometer designs. We describe laboratory measurements of the efficiency and image quality of a curved VPH grating in a STGS design, demonstrating, simultaneously, efficiency comparable to planar VPH gratings along with good image quality. The stage is now set for construction of a prototype instrument with impressive performance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 July 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 914748 (8 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055385
Show Author Affiliations
Darragh O'Donoghue, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
J. Christopher Clemens, The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9147:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V
Suzanne K. Ramsay; Ian S. McLean; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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