AAS 197, January 2001
Session 14. New Space Missions and Instrumentation
Display, Monday, January 8, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[14.08] Cryogenic Delay Line for Far-IR Interferometry in Space

P.R. Lawson, M.R. Swain, J.D. Moore, G.L. Brack (JPL)

Direct-detection interferometry in space at far-IR/submillimeter wavelengths holds the promise of opening up an entirely new domain of astrophysical research. High angular resolution observations at wavelengths of 40-400 microns will allow us to determine the star formation rate as a function of redshift, and investigate fundamental questions relating to the history of star formation and the evolution of the universe. High angular resolution is required to avoid confusion due to the extragalactic background, with the highest resolution only being accessible through the use of long-baseline interferometry. To the authors' knowledge, no prior technology development has addressed the problems of direct-detection far-IR interferometry in space. At these wavelengths cryogenic optical systems are required, augmented with the active servo systems necessary for interferometry. One of the most challenging and crucial components of an interferometer is its delay line. We have designed and assembled a prototype cryogenic delay line to provide delays of up to 0.5 m that we are now in the process of testing. Its design, current status, and ongoing development will be described.

This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: Peter.R.Lawson@jpl.nasa.gov

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