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Proceedings Paper

New optical modalities utilizing curved focal plane imaging detector devices and large arrays for terrestrial and spaceborne telescopes
Author(s): David Mark
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Paper Abstract

As terrestrial and spaceborne astronomical telescopes advance in multi-functional design sophistication, incorporating greater spectral resolutions, the utilization of curved focal plane ccd and cmos imaging detectors, contoured to match the telescope's Petzval field of curvature, provides a fundamental and novel optical simplicity facilitating new imaging frontiers in astronomical research. For space based telescopes, curved focal plane detector devices require significantly fewer optics than their flat counterparts, which require field flattening optics, in achieving maximum imaging resolutions for adjoining spectrometers or imaging cameras. consequently, with fewer optics comes greater room to place other optics within the same space to accomplish other tasks, providing much greater diversification of observing functions and techniques reserved simultaneously for the telescope. Included within this is the operational capability of producing multi-wavelength spectrometers gathering data concurrently at a multitude of selected wavelengths, with greater sensitivity, reliability, size reduction, and operational longevity of the restructured optical system. Specialized applications involving optical interferometry are also achievable with further enhancements when the curved detectors are applied specifically to refine or maximize detection of fringes, and when employing occulting mask algorithms for existing light paths. for planetary surface mapping space probes, curved focal plane detection provides real-time 3D multi-perspective image acquisition for streaming 3D data sets, replacing onboard or remote computationally intensive 3D reconstructions used for examining terrestrial surface features performed with corresponding flat detectors. For earth based telescopes, where mass of the telescope's optics are not so constrained, more degrees of freedom are also part of the benefits introduced by curved focal plane detector device optimization. Associated with the very large Petzval radii of curvature for very large and extreme telescopes within this class are wide field spatial distortions which are instantaneously corrected when arrays of curved CCD's or CMOS devices are joined homogeneously and precisely together along the converging field of curvature, without field flattening optics, insuring complete full field detection superior to flat facet detectors which compromise the telescope's imaging field curvature detection abilities.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 July 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7742, High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy IV, 77422H (19 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858186
Show Author Affiliations
David Mark, Mark Resources LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7742:
High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy IV
Andrew D. Holland; David A. Dorn, Editor(s)

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