AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 52. Ground Based Instrumentations
Display, Thursday, June 8, 2000, 9:20am-4:00pm, Empire Hall South

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[52.04] An Opto-MEMS Multiobject Spectrograph

K. Kearney, Z. Ninkov (Rochester Institute of Technology, Center for Imaging Science), D. Zwarg (Rochester Institute of Technology, Imaging and Photographic Technology Department)

Optical MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Structures) are an enabling technology for a new class of optical instrumentation designs. An opto-MEMS device consists of an array of microfabricated structures, each of which modulates the phase and/or amplitude of an incident light beam. Typically the devices consist of an array of moveable micromirrors - each of which reflects an incident beam in a unique direction (tilt), or with a unique phase shift (piston).

One widely available opto-MEMS device is the Texas Instruments' Digital Micromirror Device (DMD). The DMD is an array of 16 micron x 16 micron square mirrors postioned on a 17 micron pitch. Each mirror can tilt +/- 10 degrees from the normal - reflecting a normally incident light beam +/- 20 degrees. By positioning the DMD in an intermediate image plane in an optical system, portions of the image can be directed into- or out-of the input pupil of the follow-on imaging optics.

RIT is utilizing the DMD to construct a prototype multiobject spectrograph (RIT-MOS) for visible observations with terrestrial telescopes. The DMD array replaces the input slit of an imaging spectrograph, forming a 'virtual', programmable slit assembly. By acquiring a pre-image of the astronomical field, it is possible to select a multidude of objects, and to program the DMD to pass only those objects into the input optics of the imaging spectrograph. We will report on the design and characterizatotion of the RIT-MOS, as well as preliminary imaging results.

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