Focal ratio degradation in lightly fused hexabundles

J. J. Bryant*, J. Bland-hawthorn, L. M R Fogarty, J. S. Lawrence, S. M. Croom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


We are now moving into an era where multi-object wide-field surveys, which traditionally use single fibres to observe many targets simultaneously, can exploit compact integral field units (IFUs) in place of single fibres. Current multi-object integral field instruments such as Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral field spectrograph have driven the development of new imaging fibre bundles (hexabundles) for multi-object spectrographs. We have characterized the performance of hexabundles with different cladding thicknesses and compared them to that of the same type of bare fibre, across the range of fill fractions and input f-ratios likely in an IFU instrument. Hexabundles with 7-cores and 61-cores were tested for focal ratio degradation (FRD), throughput and cross-talk when fed with inputs from F/3.4 to >F/8. The five 7-core bundles have cladding thickness ranging from 1 to 8 μm, and the 61-core bundles have 5 μm cladding. As expected, the FRD improves as the input focal ratio decreases. We find that the FRD and throughput of the cores in the hexabundles match the performance of single fibres of the same material at low input f-ratios. The performance results presented can be used to set a limit on the f-ratio of a system based on the maximum loss allowable for a planned instrument. Our results confirm that hexabundles are a successful alternative for fibre imaging devices for multi-object spectroscopy on wide-field telescopes and have prompted further development of hexabundle designs with hexagonal packing and square cores.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberstt2254
Pages (from-to)869-877
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Instrumentation: miscellaneous
  • Instrumentation: spectrographs
  • Methods: observational
  • Techniques: imaging spectroscopy
  • Techniques: miscellaneous


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