AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 3 Instrumentation: Ground-based
Poster, Monday, May 26, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[3.02] Compact Grism Spectrometer

S.W. Teare (New Mexico Tech)

Many observatories and instrument builders are retrofitting visible and near-infrared spectrometers into their existing imaging cameras. Camera designs that reimage the focal plane and have the optical filters located in a pseudo collimated beam are ideal candidates for the addition of a spectrometer. One device commonly used as the dispersing element for such spectrometers is a grism.

The traditional grism is constructed from a prism that has had a diffraction grating applied on one surface. The objective of such a design is to use the prism wedge angle to select the desired “in-line” or “zero-deviation” wavelength that passes through on axis. The grating on the surface of the prism provides much of the dispersion for the spectrometer. A grism can also be used in a “constant-dispersion” design which provides an almost linear spatial scale across the spectrum.

In this paper we provide an overview of the development of a grism spectrometer for use in a near infrared camera and demonstrate that a compact grism spectrometer can be developed on a very modest budget that can be afforded at almost any facility. The grism design was prototyped using visible light and then a final device was constructed which provides partial coverage in the near infrared I, J, H and K astronomical bands using the appropriate band pass filter for order sorting. The near infrared grism presented here provides a spectral resolution of about 650 and velocity resolution of about 450 km/s. The design of this grism relied on a computer code called Xspect, developed by the author, to determine the various critical parameters of the grism. This work was supported by a small equipment grant from NASA and administered by the AAS.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.