Single-mode waveguides for GRAVITY
I. The cryogenic 4-telescope integrated optics beam combiner
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG,
2 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CEA, LETI, MINATEC Campus, 38000 Grenoble, France
3 Le Verre Fluoré, Rue Gabriel Voisin, Campus Kerlann, 35170 Bruz, France
4 Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Giessenbachstrasse, 85741 Garching bei München, Germany
5 GAMBERINI, 95 rue des Grives, 38920 Crolles, France
6 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
7 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Université de recherche Paris-Sciences-et-Lettres (PSL), CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
8 CENTRA, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
9 Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
10 I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Str. 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
Accepted: 14 February 2018
Context. Within the framework of the second-generation instrumentation of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer of the European Southern Observatory we have developed the four-telescope beam combiner in integrated optics.
Aims. We optimized the performance of such beam combiners, for the first time in the near-infrared K band, for the GRAVITY instrument dedicated to the study of the close environment of the galactic centre black hole by precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric imaging.
Methods. We optimized the design of the integrated optics chip and the manufacturing technology as well, to fulfil the very demanding throughput specification. We also designed an integrated optics assembly able to operate at 200 K in the GRAVITY cryostat to reduce thermal emission.
Results. We manufactured about 50 beam combiners by silica-on-silicon etching technology. We glued the best combiners to single-mode fluoride fibre arrays that inject the VLTI light into the integrated optics beam combiners. The final integrated optics assemblies have been fully characterized in the laboratory and through on-site calibrations: their global throughput over the K band is higher than 55% and the instrumental contrast reaches more than 95% in polarized light, which is well within the GRAVITY specifications.
Conclusions. While integrated optics technology is known to be mature enough to provide efficient and reliable beam combiners for astronomical interferometry in the H band, we managed to successfully extend it to the longest wavelengths of the K band and to manufacture the most complex integrated optics beam combiner in this specific spectral band.
Key words: techniques: high angular resolution / techniques: interferometric
© ESO 2018
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0;), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.