AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 45. Instrumentation for Space Observations
Display, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Monroe/Lincoln

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[45.03] Cryogenic Optics for Long-Baseline Interferometry in the Far-IR

P.R. Lawson, M.R. Swain, P.J. Dumont, J.D. Moore, R.F. Smythe (JPL)

We discuss progress in the development and testing of cryogenic optics and servo-mechanisms for long-baseline interferometry at far-infrared wavelengths. Direct-detection interferometry in space at these wavelengths will permit high angular resolution studies of galaxy and star formation and overcome the confusion due to the extra-galactic background, opening up an entirely new domain of astrophysical research. In support of these science goals, we are now developing new technologies needed to make long-baseline far-infrared interferometry possible. The design of a direct-detection interferometer for the far-IR is extremely challenging. For it to be background-limited in space in the region of 40-400 microns, its optics and servo-mechanisms must operate at near liquid helium temperatures. Our present focus is on the commissioning of a precision cryogenic delay line and integrated optics beam combiner. The preliminary tests of our prototype delay line, at a temperature of 120 K, have shown it to operate well. We are now in the process of implementing the servo control system for the delay line and have completed the fabrication and assembly of a novel cryogenic mechanical amplifier for phase-measurement interferometry. The current status and ongoing development of our program 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: lawson@huey.jpl.nasa.gov

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