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Proceedings Paper

Hexabundles: imaging fibre arrays for low-light astronomical applications
Author(s): Joss Bland-Hawthorn; Julia Bryant; Gordon Robertson; Peter Gillingham; John O'Byrne; Gerald Cecil; Roger Haynes; Scott Croom; Simon Ellis; Martin Maack; Peter Skovgaard; Danny Noordegraf
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Paper Abstract

We demonstrate for the first time an imaging fibre bundle ("hexabundle") that is suitable for low-light applications in astronomy. The most successful survey instruments at optical-infrared wavelengths today have obtained data on up to a million celestial sources using hundreds of multimode fibres at a time fed to multiple spectrographs. But a large fraction of these sources are spatially extended on the celestial sphere such that a hexabundle would be able to provide spectroscopic information at many distinct locations across the source. Our goal is to upgrade single-fibre survey instruments with multimode hexabundles in place of the multimode fibres. We discuss two varieties of hexabundles: (i) closely packed circular cores allowing the covering fraction to approach the theoretical maximum of 91%; (ii) fused noncircular cores where the interstitial holes have been removed and the covering fraction approaches 100%. In both cases, we find that the cladding can be reduced to ~2μm over the short fuse length, well below the conventional ~10λ thickness employed more generally. We discuss the relative merits of fused/unfused hexabundles in terms of manufacture and deployment, and present our first on-sky observations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 July 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 773541 (20 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.856345
Show Author Affiliations
Joss Bland-Hawthorn, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Julia Bryant, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Gordon Robertson, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Peter Gillingham, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
John O'Byrne, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Gerald Cecil, The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
Roger Haynes, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
InnoFSPEC (Germany)
Scott Croom, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Simon Ellis, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Martin Maack, NKT Photonics A/S (Denmark)
Peter Skovgaard, NKT Photonics A/S (Denmark)
Danny Noordegraf, NKT Photonics A/S (Denmark)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7735:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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