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Proceedings Paper

VLT instruments: industrial solutions for non-scientific detector systems
Author(s): P. Duhoux; J. Knudstrup; P. Lilley; P. Di Marcantonio; R. Cirami; M. Mannetta
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Paper Abstract

Recent improvements in industrial vision technology and products together with the increasing need for high performance, cost efficient technical detectors for astronomical instrumentation have led ESO with the contribution of INAF to evaluate this trend and elaborate ad-hoc solutions which are interoperable and compatible with the evolution of VLT standards. The ESPRESSO spectrograph shall be the first instrument deploying this technology. ESO's Technical CCD (hereafter TCCD) requirements are extensive and demanding. A lightweight, low maintenance, rugged and high performance TCCD camera product or family of products is required which can operate in the extreme environmental conditions present at ESO's observatories with minimum maintenance and minimal downtime. In addition the camera solution needs to be interchangeable between different technical roles e.g. slit viewing, pupil and field stabilization, with excellent performance characteristics under a wide range of observing conditions together with ease of use for the end user. Interoperability is enhanced by conformance to recognized electrical, mechanical and software standards. Technical requirements and evaluation criteria for the TCCD solution are discussed in more detail. A software architecture has been adopted which facilitates easy integration with TCCD's from different vendors. The communication with the devices is implemented by means of dedicated adapters allowing usage of the same core framework (business logic). The preference has been given to cameras with an Ethernet interface, using standard TCP/IP based communication. While the preferred protocol is the industrial standard GigE Vision, not all vendors supply cameras with this interface, hence proprietary socket-based protocols are also acceptable with the provision of a validated Linux compliant API. A fundamental requirement of the TCCD software is that it shall allow for a seamless integration with the existing VLT software framework. ESPRESSO is a fiber-fed, cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph that will be located in the Combined-Coudé Laboratory of the VLT in the Paranal Observatory in Chile. It will be able to operate either using the light of any of the UT's or using the incoherently combined light of up to four UT's. The stabilization of the incoming beam is achieved by dedicated piezo systems controlled via active loops closed on 4 + 4 dedicated TCCD's for the stabilization of the pupil image and of the field with a frequency goal of 3 Hz on a 2nd to 3rd magnitude star. An additional 9th TCCD system shall be used as an exposure-meter. In this paper we will present the technical CCD solution for future VLT instruments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 July 2014
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9152, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy III, 91520I (18 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2054718
Show Author Affiliations
P. Duhoux, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
J. Knudstrup, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
P. Lilley, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
P. Di Marcantonio, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
R. Cirami, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)
M. Mannetta, INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9152:
Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy III
Gianluca Chiozzi; Nicole M. Radziwill, Editor(s)

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