Hexabundles

imaging fibre arrays for low-light astronomical applications

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

7 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
EditorsIan S. McLean, Suzanne K. Ramsay, Hideki Takami
PublisherSPIE
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
Volume7735
EditionPART 1
ISBN (Electronic)9780819482259
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 27 Jun 20102 Jul 2010

Conference

ConferenceGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period27/06/102/07/10

Keywords

  • astronomical instrumentation
  • galaxy surveys
  • integral field spectrograph
  • multimode fibre

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