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30 September 2004 The CAMCAO infrared camera
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The CAMCAO instrument is a high resolution near infrared (NIR) camera conceived to operate together with the new ESO Multi-conjugate Adaptive optics Demonstrator (MAD) with the goal of evaluating the feasibility of Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics techniques (MCAO) on the sky. It is a high-resolution wide field of view (FoV) camera that is optimized to use the extended correction of the atmospheric turbulence provided by MCAO. While the first purpose of this camera is the sky observation, in the MAD setup, to validate the MCAO technology, in a second phase, the CAMCAO camera is planned to attach directly to the VLT for scientific astrophysical studies. The camera is based on the 2kx2k HAWAII2 infrared detector controlled by an ESO external IRACE system and includes standard IR band filters mounted on a positional filter wheel. The CAMCAO design requires that the optical components and the IR detector should be kept at low temperatures in order to avoid emitting radiation and lower detector noise in the region analysis. The cryogenic system inclues a LN2 tank and a sptially developed pulse tube cryocooler. Field and pupil cold stops are implemented to reduce the infrared background and the stray-light. The CAMCAO optics provide diffraction limited performance down to J Band, but the detector sampling fulfills the Nyquist criterion for the K band (2.2mm).
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