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Opt Express. 2012 Jan 30;20(3):2062-72. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.002062.

Developing arrayed waveguide grating spectrographs for multi-object astronomical spectroscopy.

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MQ Photonics Research Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia.


With the aim of utilizing arrayed waveguide gratings for multi-object spectroscopy in the field of astronomy, we outline several ways in which standard telecommunications grade chips should be modified. In particular, by removing the parabolic-horn taper or multimode interference coupler, and injecting with an optical fiber directly, the resolving power was increased threefold from 2400 ± 200 (spectral resolution of 0.63 ± 0.2 nm) to 7000 ± 700 (0.22 ± 0.02 nm) while attaining a throughput of 77 ± 5%. More importantly, the removal of the taper enabled simultaneous off-axis injection from multiple fibers, significantly increasing the number of spectra that can be obtained at once (i.e. the observing efficiency). Here we report that ~12 fibers can be injected simultaneously within the free spectral range of our device, with a 20% reduction in resolving power for fibers placed at 0.8 mm off-centre.

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