SPIE 7739, San Diego 2010


Eddy Elswijka, Ramón Navarro, Niels Tromp, Jan Kragt, Johan Pragta, Hiddo Hanenburg, Albert van Duin


MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) will be a mid-infrared spectro-interferometer combining the beams of up to four telescopes of the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer (ESO VLTI), providing phase closure and image reconstruction. Matisse will produce interferometric spectra in the LM and in the N band (2.3 to 13.5 micron) and is as such a successor of MIDI. The instrument will be developed by a consortium consisting of Observatoire de Nice (warm optics), NOVA-ASTRON (cold optics), MPI-A (cryostats) and MPIfR (detectors). Beams of up to four Unit Telescopes or Auxiliary Telescopes (UT – AT) pass the warm pre-optics and in the cold optics all beams recombine on the detector where they create a spectral interference pattern. An innovative MAIT plan drastically shortens the MAIT phase and therefore reduces cost. The MAIT plan comprises the assembly and alignment procedure of about 220 cryogenic optical components for which a mirror mount clip has been developed. Alignment accuracy and stability specifications are of the order of nanometers and arcsec, which requires over 50 degrees of freedom in cryogenic alignment mechanisms for e.g. Tip/Tilt and detector Tip/Tilt/Focus. The design, realization and test results of these mechanisms are presented. A cryogenic electrical switch significantly reduces the complexity of the electronic cabling and improves reliability.