An efficient, compact, and versatile fiber double scrambler for high precision radial velocity instruments

Samuel Halverson, Arpita Roy, Suvrath Mahadevan, Lawrence Ramsey, Eric Levi, Christian Schwab, Fred Hearty, Nick Macdonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


We present the design and test results of a compact optical fiber double-scrambler for high-resolution Doppler radial velocity instruments. This device consists of a single optic: a high-index n ∼ 2 ball lens that exchanges the near and far fields between two fibers. When used in conjunction with octagonal fibers, this device yields very high scrambling gains (SGs) and greatly desensitizes the fiber output from any input illumination variations, thereby stabilizing the instrument profile of the spectrograph and improving the Doppler measurement precision. The system is also highly insensitive to input pupil variations, isolating the spectrograph from telescope illumination variations and seeing changes. By selecting the appropriate glass and lens diameter the highest efficiency is achieved when the fibers are practically in contact with the lens surface, greatly simplifying the alignment process when compared to classical double-scrambler systems. This prototype double-scrambler has demonstrated significant performance gains over previous systems, achieving SGs in excess of 10,000 with a throughput of ∼87% using uncoated Polymicro octagonal fibers. Adding a circular fiber to the fiber train further increases the SG to >20,000, limited by laboratory measurement error. While this fiber system is designed for the Habitable-zone Planet Finder spectrograph, it is more generally applicable to other instruments in the visible and near-infrared. Given the simplicity and low cost, this fiber scrambler could also easily be multiplexed for large multi-object instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • instrumentation: spectrographs
  • techniques: radial velocities
  • techniques: spectroscopic


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