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Proceedings Paper

A tunable integrated system to simulate colder stellar radiation
Author(s): Marco S. Erculiani; Riccardo Claudi; Diego Barbisan; Enrico Giro; Matteo Bonato; Lorenzo Cocola; Giancarlo Farisato; Metteo Meneghini; Luca Poletto; Bernardo Salasnich; Nicola Trivellin
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Paper Abstract

In the last years, a lot of extrasolar planets have been discovered in any direction of the Galaxy. More interesting, some of them have been found in the habitable zone of their host stars. A large diversity of spectral type, from early types (A) to colder ones (M), is covered by the planetary system host stars. A lot of efforts are done in order to find habitable planets around M stars and indeed some habitable super earths were found. In this framework, “Atmosphere in a Test Tube”, a project started at Astronomical observatory of Padua, simulates planetary environmental condition in order to understand how and how much the behavior of photosynthetic bacteria in different planetary/star scenarios can modify the planet atmosphere. The particular case of an habitable planet orbiting a M dwarf star is under study for the time being. The irradiation of an M star, due to its lower surface temperature is very different in quality and quantity by the irradiation of a star like our Sun. We would like to describe the study of feasibility of a new kind of tunable led stellarlight simulator capable to recreate the radiation spectrum of M type stars (but with the potential to be expanded even to F, G, K star spectra types) incident on the planet. The radiation source is a multiple LED matrix cooled by means of air fan technology. In order to endow it with modularity this device will be composed by a mosaic of circuit boards arranged in a pie-chart shape, on the surface of which will be welded the LEDs. This concept is a smart way in order to replace blown out pieces instead of changing the entire platform as well as implement the device with new modules suitable to reproduce other type of stars. The device can be driven by a PC to raise or lower the intensity of both each LED and the lamp, in order to simulate as close as possible a portion of the star spectrum. The wavelength intervals overlap the limits of photosynthetic pigment absorption range (280-850 nm), while the range of the radiation source will be between 365 nm and 940 nm. The reason why we chose a higher outer limit is that M stars have the emission peak at about 1000 nm and we want to study the effects of low-light radiation on bacterial vitality. The innovative concept behind this radiative source is the use of the LED components to simulate the main stellar absorption lines and to make this a dynamic-light. Last but not least the use of LED is crucial to keep the device compact and handy. This device could help us to better understand the link between radiation and NIR-photosynthesis and could find applications in the field of photobioreactors as a test bench for the choice of the wavelength to be used in order to maximize the production rate. Other fields of application are the microscopy light sources field and the yeasts growth sector.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 September 2015
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 9626, Optical Systems Design 2015: Optical Design and Engineering VI, 96262D (23 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2189053
Show Author Affiliations
Marco S. Erculiani, Ctr. of Studies and Activities for Space (Italy)
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Riccardo Claudi, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Diego Barbisan, Univ. degli Studi di Padova (Italy)
Enrico Giro, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Matteo Bonato, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Univ. degli Studi di Padova (Italy)
Lorenzo Cocola, Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie (Italy)
Giancarlo Farisato, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Metteo Meneghini, Univ. degli Studi di Padova (Italy)
Luca Poletto, Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie (Italy)
Bernardo Salasnich, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Nicola Trivellin, Univ. degli Studi di Padova (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9626:
Optical Systems Design 2015: Optical Design and Engineering VI
Laurent Mazuray; Rolf Wartmann; Andrew P. Wood, Editor(s)

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