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Proceedings Paper

Starbugs: focal plane fiber positioning technology
Author(s): Michael Goodwin; Jeroen Heijmans; Ian Saunders; Jurek Brzeski; Will Saunders; Rolf Muller; Roger Haynes; James Gilbert
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Paper Abstract

We report on the technological achievements of our latest Starbug prototypes and their implications for smart focal plane fiber positioning applications for wide-field astronomy. The Starbugs are innovative self-motile miniature robotic devices that can simultaneously and independently position fibers or payloads over a field plate located at the telescope's focal plane. The Starbugs concept overcomes many of the limitations associated with the traditional 'pick and place' positioners where a robot places fixed buttons onto the field plate. The new Starbug prototypes use piezoelectric actuators and have the following features: (i) new 'lift-and-step' method (discrete step) for accurate positioning over different surfaces; and (ii) operate in an inverted hanging position underneath a transparent field plate, removing the need for fibercable retractors. In this paper, we present aspects of the Starbug prototypes, including the theoretical model, mechanical design, experimental setup, algorithms, performance and applications for astronomical instrumentation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 July 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7739, Modern Technologies in Space- and Ground-based Telescopes and Instrumentation, 77391E (21 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.856777
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Goodwin, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Jeroen Heijmans, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Ian Saunders, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Jurek Brzeski, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Will Saunders, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Rolf Muller, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Roger Haynes, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
James Gilbert, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7739:
Modern Technologies in Space- and Ground-based Telescopes and Instrumentation
Eli Atad-Ettedgui; Dietrich Lemke, Editor(s)

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