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29 June 2006 QuantEYE: a quantum optics instrument for extremely large telescopes
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We have carried out a conceptual study for an instrument (QuantEYE) capable to detect and measure photon-stream statistics, e.g. power spectra or autocorrelation functions. Such functions increase with the square of the detected signal, implying an enormously increased sensitivity at the future Extremely Large Telescopes, such as the OverWhelmingly Large (OWL) telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Furthermore, QuantEYE will have the capability of exploring astrophysical variability on microsecond and nanosecond scales, down to the quantum-optical limit. Expected observable phenomena include instabilities of photon-gas bubbles in accretion flows, p-mode oscillations in neutron stars, and quantum-optical photon bunching in time. This paper describes QuantEYE, an instrument aimed to realize the just described science, proposed for installation at the ESO OWL telescope focal plane. The adopted optical solution is relatively simple and possible with actual technologies, the main constraint essentially being the present limited availability of very fast photon counting detector arrays. Also some possible alternative designs are described, assuming a future technology development of fast photon counting detector arrays.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Giampiero Naletto, Cesare Barbieri, Dainis Dravins, Tommaso Occhipinti, Fabrizio Tamburini, Vania Da Deppo, Sonia Fornasier, Mauro D'Onofrio, Robert A. E. Fosbury, Ricky Nilsson, Helena Uthas, and Luca Zampieri "QuantEYE: a quantum optics instrument for extremely large telescopes", Proc. SPIE 6269, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy, 62691W (29 June 2006);


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