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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Manufacturing and testing of wavefront filters for DARWIN

Paper Abstract

Wavefront filtering is mandatory in the realisation of nulling interferometers with high star light suppression capability required to detect extrasolar planets, such as the one foreseen for the ESA Darwin mission.

This paper presents the design, manufacturing, and test results of single mode fibres to be used as wavefront filters in mid-infrared range. Fibres made from chalcogenide glass and silver halide crystals were produced. The first class can serve as wavefront filters up to a wavelength of 11 microns, while silver halide fibres can be used over the full Darwin wavelength range from 6.5 to 18 micron. The chalcogenide glass fibres were drawn by double crucible method whereas polycrystalline fibres from silver halides were fabricated by multiple extrusion from a crystalline preform.

Multi-layer AR-coatings for fibre ends were developed and environmentally tested for both types of fibres. Special fibre facet polishing procedures were established, in particular for the soft silver halide fibre ends. Cable design and assembly process were also developed, including termination by SMA-connectors with ceramic ferrules and fibre protection by loose PEEK-tubings to prevent excessive bending and chemical attacks for fibres.

The wavefront filtering capability of the fibres was demonstrated on a high quality Mach-Zehnder interferometer. Two different groups of laser sources were used to measure the wavefront filtering of the fibres by using a CO-laser for testing in the lower sub-band and a CO2-laser to check the upper sub-band.

Measurements of the fibres far field intensity distribution and transmission were performed for numerous cable samples. Single mode behaviour was observed in more than 25 silver halide fibre cables before AR-coating of their ends, while after that 17 cables were compliant with all technical requirements. Residual cladding modes existing in short single mode fibres were effectively removed by applying of a proper absorbing jacket to the fibre's lateral surface and by adding an oversized output aperture in front of fibre ends.

Several fibres were exposed to gamma radiation of total dose of 25, 50, and even 500 krad. No deterioration was found on AR-coated fibre ends and on fibre material. Five fibres were irradiated by proton radiation of 10MeV energy and 1010 p/cm2 equivalent fluence. Several fibres were cooled down to 10 K by plunging them in a dipstick into liquid Helium. Silver halide fibres survived that test when cables were properly assembled. The brittle chalcogenide glass fibres were much more sensitive to thermal gradients and the related cables did not survive the thermal shock.

Critical issues have been revealed in multiple drawings of chalcogenide glass fibres where core and cladding composition were not stable at some fabrication stages - resulting in a poor single mode guiding. Much better results have been achieved with polycrystalline fibres from silver halides made with a small core and low NA and enabling single mode guiding in the mid infrared.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10565, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010, 105650X (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309269
Show Author Affiliations
R. Flatscher, Astrium GmbH (Germany)
V. Artjushenko, Fibre Photonics (Germany)
T. Sakharova, Fibre Photonics (Germany)
Joao Pereira do Carmo, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10565:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010
Errico Armandillo; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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