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Proceedings Paper

Rewritable photochromic focal plane masks
Author(s): Emilio Molinari; Chiara Bertarelli; Andrea Bianco; Fabio Bortoletto; Paolo Conconi; Giuseppe Crimi; Maria Carla Gallazzi; Enrico Giro; Andrea Lucotti; Claudio Pernechele; Filippo Maria Zerbi; Giuseppe Zerbi
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Paper Abstract

The application of organic photochromic materials in astronomy is opening new possibilities which we are investigating in order to design innovative devices for future instrumentation. The photochromic property of transparent/opaque transition (although in a limited wavelength range) and the changes in intrinsic refractive index have led our studies to application in astronomic spectrographs, both as focal plane mask (for MOS application) and as dispersive elements (volume phase holographic gratings, VPHG), respectively. In both cases the possibility to write and erase devices with suitable irradiation has revealed a new perspective for non-disposable and fully customizable items for spectroscopy. Pursuing this goal we have synthesized a series of novel photochromic materials belonging to the diarylethenes. They fulfill the requirements of thermal stability and fatigue resistance necessary to build functional devices. Prototypes of high contrast focal plane mask working in the H-alpha spectral region have been manufactured and characterized both in laboratory and with the AFOSC camera at Asiago telescope (1.8 m). A custom writing robot (ARATRO) which, taking imaging frames and with the aid of interactive mask design software and ad hoc control electronics, is able to write MOS masks, has been constructed. The design of the MOS masks allow the fitting in the AFOSC slit wheel. The overall set-up is ready for the sky tests.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 January 2003
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4842, Specialized Optical Developments in Astronomy, (30 January 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.456715
Show Author Affiliations
Emilio Molinari, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Chiara Bertarelli, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Andrea Bianco, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Fabio Bortoletto, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Paolo Conconi, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Giuseppe Crimi, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Maria Carla Gallazzi, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Enrico Giro, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Andrea Lucotti, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
Claudio Pernechele, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Filippo Maria Zerbi, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy)
Giuseppe Zerbi, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4842:
Specialized Optical Developments in Astronomy
Eli Atad-Ettedgui; Sandro D'Odorico, Editor(s)

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