The instrument science group at the AAO :-
- develops new astronomical instrumentation techniques and related science
- provides scientific and engineering support to AAO instrumentation projects (instruments for both the AAO and for external customers) - often acting as an 'interface' between scientists and engineering staff on instrument development
- pushes the frontiers of astronomical technologies to keep the AAO internationally competitive
- Jon Lawrence (Head of Group)
- Michael Goodwin
- Anthony Horton
- Nemanja Jovanovic
- Simon Ellis
- Jessica Zheng
- Will Saunders
- Peter Gillingham
Technology Development ProjectsThe Instrument Science Group has an extensive research and development program that is investigating new photonic solutions that are aimed at increasing the efficiency and versatility of astronomical instruments. Several key projects are highlighted here.
Starbugs are robotic self-motile miniature mechanical lift-and-step bugs for multi-object fibre spectroscopy. These bugs represent a significant departure from traditional robotic fibre positioning systems used in astronomy that offer a number of advantages. The concept uses miniature robots that scuttle around the telescope's focal plane catching the light from distant stars and galaxies to feed bundles of optical fibres. The light guided by the optical fibres is then fed into spectrographs for measurement and scientific analysis. The collecting end of each fibre has to be placed at precisely the right spot on the focal plane where each star or galaxy is expected to fall. Hence, for each different field of stars and galaxies, all the fibres, typically several hundred to many thousands, need to be re-positioned extremely accurately and on short timescales.
Three views of a prototype robotic positioning Starbug.
Integrated Photonic Spectrographs
|Prototype arrayed-waveguide grating integrated photonic spectrograph.||Example of spectrum of the night sky OH emission lines in H-band taken with a prototype arrayed-waveguide grating IPS.|
Instrument projectsThe instrument science group provides detailed scientific and engineering support to AAO instrumentation projects. Current projects include:
- Papers presented at the SPIE conference, June 2010 in San Diego, USA.
- Papers presented at the SPIE conference, June 2008 in Marseille, France.
- Papers presented at the SPIE conference, June 2006 in Orlando, USA.
- Papers presented at the SPIE conference, June 2004 in Glasgow, Scotland.
CollaboratorsThe AAO Instrument Science Group work closely with the following institutes and research groups:
- Macquarie University Astrophotonics Group
- Sydney University Astrophotonics Group
- InnoFSPEC at the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam
- Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS)
- Astrophotonica Europa Partnership
- Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, Durham University
Phone: +61 2 9372 4853
Fax: +61 2 9372 4880
Last updated October 2010