We present a summary of the cryogenic detector preamplifier development programme under way at the ANU. Cryogenic preamplifiers have been demonstrated for both near-infrared detectors (Teledyne H1RG and Leonardo SAPHIRA eAPD as part of development for the GMTIFS instrument) and optical CCDs (e2v CCD231-84 for use with the AAT/Veloce spectrograph). This approach to detector signal conditioning allows low-noise instrument amplifiers to be placed very close to an infra-red detector or optical CCD, isolating the readout path from external interference noise sources. Laboratory results demonstrate effective isolation of the readout path from external interference noise sources. Recent progress has focussed on the first on-sky deployment of four cryogenic preamp channels for the Veloce Rosso precision radial velocity spectrograph. We also outline future evolution of the current design, allowing higher speeds and further enhanced performance for the demanding applications required for the on instrument wavefront sensor on the Giant Magellan Integral Field Spectrograph (GMTIFS).
We report the design evolution for the GMT Integral Field Spectrograph, (GMTIFS). To support the range of operating modes – a spectroscopic channel providing integral field spectroscopy with variable spaxel scales, and a parallel imaging channel Nyquist sampling the LTAO corrected field of view - the design process has focused on risk mitigation for the demanding operational tolerances. We summarise results from prototype components, confirming concepts are meeting the necessary specifications. Ongoing review and simulation of the scientific requirements also leads to new demonstrations of the science that will be made possible with this new generation of high performance AO assisted instrumentation.
GHOST is a high resolution spectrograph system currently being built for the Gemini South Observatory in Chile. In the Cassegrain unit, the observational targets are acquired on integral field units and guided during science exposures, feeding the fiber cable to the temperature-stabilized echelle spectrograph. The Cassegrain unit is mounted on the Gemini telescope, and consists of a main structural plate, the two object positioners and ballast frame. The image from each of the two science beams passes through a field lens and a mini-atmospheric dispersion corrector and is then captured by the integral field unit. The positioner moves each corrector-integral field unit assembly across the focal surface of the telescope. The main structural plate provides the interface for the positioner and ballast frame to the telescope structure. In this paper we describe the final design and assembly of the GHOST Cassegrain unit and report on the outcome of on-sky testing at the telescope in Chile.
The Gemini High Resolution Optical Spectrograph (GHOST) is a dual-object integral-field unit fed echelle spectrograph currently under construction by an Australian-led consortium including the Australian National University (ANU), the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and Canada’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Center. The instrument control software for GHOST is under development by ANU. A brief overview of the relevant instrument subsystems is presented from the point of view of instrument control, along with a high-level overview of the software design. We discuss the operational concepts that have required specific software solutions, including IFU positioner collision avoidance, focal plane image reconstruction, and the guiding loop. We provide details of the various screens in the Acceptance Test and Engineering User Interface, showing how they support the operational concepts. The project comprises a variety of software technologies, including the Gemini Instrument Application Programmer Interface (GIAPI), ANU CICADA software, and various off-the-shelf packages. We discuss the use of these technologies, and our experiences with using them. The various different hardware devices also require specific software support, and we discuss our experiences with vendor-supplied libraries and code. We conclude with a brief outline of the development process, together with a discussion of successes and challenges.
The data reduction software for the Gemini High Resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST) presents a number of unusual challenges. Star light from one or two objects and simultaneous sky is collected in integral field units rather than a slit or well-separated fibers. When used with binning, individual fibers are not resolved, and the optimal pixel weighting is derived from a simultaneous slit viewing camera. We describe the data reduction approach taken, including testing using an optical physics-based data simulator, and an object-oriented and modular approach to spectral extraction that fits within the Gemini recipe system, DRAGONS, using AstroConda.
GMTIFS is the first-generation adaptive optics integral-field spectrograph for the GMT, having been selected through a competitive review process in 2011. The GMTIFS concept is for a workhorse single-object integral-field spectrograph, operating at intermediate resolution (R~5,000 and 10,000) with a parallel imaging channel. The IFS offers variable spaxel scales to Nyquist sample the diffraction limited GMT PSF from λ ~ 1-2.5 μm as well as a 50 mas scale to provide high sensitivity for low surface brightness objects. The GMTIFS will operate with all AO modes of the GMT (Natural guide star - NGSAO, Laser Tomography – LTAO, and, Ground Layer - GLAO) with an emphasis on achieving high sky coverage for LTAO observations. We summarize the principle science drivers for GMTIFS and the major design concepts that allow these goals to be achieved.
The recent availability of large format near-infrared detectors with sub-election readout noise is revolutionizing our approach to wavefront sensing for adaptive optics. However, as with all near-infrared detector technologies, challenges exist in moving from the comfort of the laboratory test-bench into the harsh reality of the observatory environment. As part of the broader adaptive optics program for the GMT, we are developing a near-infrared Lucky Imaging camera for operational deployment at the ANU 2.3 m telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The system provides an ideal test-bed for the rapidly evolving Selex/SAPHIRA eAPD technology while providing scientific imaging at angular resolution rivalling the Hubble Space Telescope at wavelengths λ = 1.3-2.5 μm.
The new Gemini High Resolution Optical Spectrograph (GHOST) will be controlled with software developed against the new Gemini software framework - the Gemini Instrument Application Programmer Interface (GIAPI). The developers describe their experience using this framework and compare it to control systems developed for earlier Gemini instruments using the original Gemini Core Instrument Control System (CICS) framework.
To achieve the high adaptive optics sky coverage necessary to allow the GMT Integral-Field Spectrograph (GMTIFS) to access key scientific targets, the on-instrument adaptive-optics wavefront-sensing (OIWFS) system must patrol the full 180 arcsecond diameter guide field passed to the instrument. The OIWFS uses a diffraction limited guide star as the fundamental pointing reference for the instrument. During an observation the offset between the science target and the guide star will change due to sources such as flexure, differential refraction and non-sidereal tracking rates. GMTIFS uses a beam steering mirror to set the initial offset between science target and guide star and also to correct for changes in offset. In order to reduce image motion from beam steering errors to those comparable to the AO system in the most stringent case, the beam steering mirror is set a requirement of less than 1 milliarcsecond RMS. This corresponds to a dynamic range for both actuators and sensors of better than 1/180,000.
The GMTIFS beam steering mirror uses piezo-walk actuators and a combination of eddy current sensors and interferometric sensors to achieve this dynamic range and control. While the sensors are rated for cryogenic operation, the actuators are not. We report on the results of prototype testing of single actuators, with the sensors, on the bench and in a cryogenic environment. Specific failures of the system are explained and suspected reasons for them. A modified test jig is used to investigate the option of heating the actuator and we report the improved results. In addition to individual component testing, we built and tested a complete beam steering mirror assembly. Testing was conducted with a point source microscope, however controlling environmental conditions to less than 1 micron was challenging. The assembly testing investigated acquisition accuracy and if there was any un-sensed hysteresis in the system. Finally we present the revised beam steering mirror design based on the outcomes and lessons learnt from this prototyping.
The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Integral-Field Spectrograph (GMTIFS)c is one of six potential first-light
instruments for the 25m-diameter Giant Magellan Telescope. The Australian National University has completed a
Conceptual Design Study for GMTIFS. The science cases for GMTIFS are summarized, and the instrument capabilities
and design challenges are described. GMTIFS will be the work-horse adaptive-optics instrument for GMT. It contains an
integral-field spectrograph (IFS) and Imager accessing the science field, and an On-Instrument Wave-Front Sensor
(OIWFS) that patrols the 90 arcsec radius guide field. GMTIFS will address a wide range of science from epoch of
reionization studies to forming galaxies at high redshifts and star and planet formation in our Galaxy. It will fully exploit
the Laser Tomography Adaptive Optics (LTAO) system on the telescope. The tight image quality and positioning
stability requirements that this imposes drive the design complexity. Some cryogenic mechanisms in the IFS must set to
~ 1 μm precision. The Beam-Steering mechanism in the OIWFS must set to milli-arcsecond precision over the guide
field, corresponding to ~ 1 μm precision in the f/8 focal plane. Differential atmospheric dispersion must also be corrected
to milli-arcsecond precision. Conceptual design solutions addressing these and other issues are presented and discussed.
The RSAA CICADA data acquisition and control software package uses an object-oriented approach to model
astronomical instrumentation and a layered architecture for implementation. Emphasis has been placed on building
reusable C++ class libraries and on the use of attribute/value tables for dynamic configuration. This paper details how
the approach has been successfully used in the construction of the instrument control software for the Gemini NIFS and
GSAOI instruments. The software is again being used for the new RSAA SkyMapper and WiFeS instruments.