The Keck Planet Finder (KPF) is a fiber-fed, high-resolution, high-stability spectrometer in development for the W.M. Keck Observatory. The instrument recently passed its preliminary design review and is currently in the detailed design phase. KPF is designed to characterize exoplanets using Doppler spectroscopy with a single measurement precision of 0.5 m s−1 or better; however, its resolution and stability will enable a wide variety of other astrophysical pursuits. KPF will have a 200 mm collimated beam diameter and a resolving power greater than 80,000. The design includes a green channel (445 nm to 600 nm) and red channel (600 nm to 870 nm). A novel design aspect of KPF is the use of a Zerodur optical bench, and Zerodur optics with integral mounts, to provide stability against thermal expansion and contraction effects.
We present the design and test results of a double-scrambler and fiber agitator system for the Keck Planet Finder (KPF) spectrograph. The mechanical agitator for modal noise suppression is constructed from two linear stages with the fibers mounted in a “W” curve. When driven back-and-forth at different rates, the stages change the position of the fiber curves, and hence vary the modes propagating through the fiber. Near-field temporal centroid shifts caused by modal-noise are reduced by a factor of 100 by the agitator, while mid-range spatial frequencies have reduced power by a factor of ∼300 in the near-field, and ∼1000 in the far-field. The scrambling system incorporates two octagonal fibers, and a scrambler consisting of two identical cemented lenses ∼20 cm apart, which exchanges the optical near- and far-fields of the fibers. The scrambler shows scrambling gains >16,000 in the near-field, and >40,000 in the far-field. The measured throughput efficiency of 99.3% of the expected maximum demonstrates that scrambler-induced focal ratio degradation (FRD) is minimal. The scrambler also serves as the feed-through into the vacuum chamber where the spectrograph is housed, thereby removing concerns about stressing the fibers, and introducing FRD, at this interface. Our illumination stabilization system, consisting of two octagonal fibers, a two lens scrambler, and a mechanical agitator, produces very homogeneous fiber output in both the near and far-fields. When coupled to the Keck Planet Finder spectrograph, this system provides illumination stability corresponding to a velocity of 0.30 m s−1 .