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Proceedings Paper

Smart focal plane technologies for ELT instruments
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Paper Abstract

Smart Focal Planes are devices that enable the efficient sampling of a telescope's focal plane to feed spectroscopic and imaging instruments. Examples are integral field units (fiber and image slicers), cryogenic beam manipulators, and MOEMS (micro-opto-electromechanical systems) such as miniature slit shutters. These technologies are critical in making best use of the current 8m class telescopes for key science goals such as spectroscopic surveys of high redshift galaxies, and will be even more important for Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) instruments. In fact, the density of pixels in an ELT focal plane with several milliarcsecond resolution will mean that sub-sampling of the field will be needed even for imaging. We have proposed a joint European project to develop these technologies, building on expertise from partners in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and others, and led by the UK. We describe the current status of these technologies, showing how they will contribute to the feasibility and performance of proposed instruments for ELTs, and concentrating on capabilities within Europe. We then outline the proposed future developments, highlighting the technical challenges, such as the difficulties of manufacturing and verifying complex image slicers with thousands of optical surfaces, and building highly reliable cryogenic mechanisms such as pick-off arms, beam steering mirrors and reconfigurble slit mechanisms.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 July 2004
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5382, Second Backaskog Workshop on Extremely Large Telescopes, (7 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.566378
Show Author Affiliations
Colin R. Cunningham, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Suzanne K. Ramsay-Howat, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Francisco Garzon, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain)
Ian Robert Parry, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Eric Prieto, Lab. d'Astrophysique de Marseille (France)
David J. Robertson, Univ. of Durham (United Kingdom)
Frederic Zamkotsian, Lab. d'Astrophysique de Marseille (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5382:
Second Backaskog Workshop on Extremely Large Telescopes
Arne L. Ardeberg; Torben Andersen, Editor(s)

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