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Published by: European Southern Observatory on May 07, 2009
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The Messenger
No. 124 \u2013 June 2006
The Messenger 124 \u2013 June \ue001006
Telescopes and Instrumentation
CRIRES: Commissioning o\ue001 the MACAO Adaptive Optics
Module and General Status Report

Hans Ulrich K\u00e4u\ue000, Raul Esteves,
Enrico Fedrigo, Domingo Gojak,
Jean-Louis Lizon, Enrico Marchetti,
Sylvain Oberti, Jerome Paufque,
Eszter Pozna, Sebastien Tordo(ESO)

The installation and commissioning o\ue001
CRIRES, the Cryogenic In\ue001rared Echelle
Spectrograph, marks the completion
o\ue001 the original plan \ue001or the frst genera-
tion o\ue001 VLT instrumentation. Here we
report on the commissioning o\ue001 the cur-
vature sensing adaptive optics part
(MACAO) o\ue001 CRIRES in April 2006. This
activity also brings the quasi-series pro-
duction o\ue001 the MACAO systems to an
end. All \ue001our UTs are now equipped with
one MACAO system each to \ue001eed inter-
\ue001erometry while UT1 and UT4 have one
additional dedicated system each inte-
grated into instruments. A summary o\ue001
the overall status o\ue001 CRIRES is given as


CRIRES is a cryogenic, pre-dispersed,
in\ue002rared echelle spectrograph designed
to provide a resolving powerl/\u0394l o\ue002
105 between 1 and 5 \u03bcm at the Nasmyth
\ue002ocus A o\ue002 the 8-m VLT Unit Telescope 1
(Antu). A curvature sensing adaptive op-
tics system \ue002eed is used to minimise slit
losses and to provide di\ue002\ue002raction-limited
spatial resolution along the slit. The nomi-
nal slit width o\ue002 CRIRES is 0.\ue001 arcsec.

A mosaic o\ue002 \ue002our Aladdin III InSb-arrays
packaged on custom-\ue002abricated ceramics
boards has been developed. This pro-
vides \ue002or an e\ue002\ue002ective 4096 \u00d7 51\ue001 pixel
\ue002ocal plane array, to maximise the \ue002ree
spectral range covered in each exposure.
Insertion o\ue002 gas cells to measure high-
precision radial velocities is \ue002oreseen.
Spectro-polarimetry (circular and linear
polarisation) will be added in the course
o\ue002 the project. To that end a cryogenic
Wollaston prism in combination with re-
tarders \ue002or magnetic Doppler imaging
is \ue002oreseen. CRIRES is part o\ue002 the initial
\ue000rst-generation instrumentation com-
plement and is an in-house project done
by ESO (\ue002or an in-depth description o\ue002
CRIRES see e.g. Moorwood \ue001003 or
K\u00e4uf et al. \ue001004). The CRIRES MACAO
system carries series number 6 o\ue002 the
highly success\ue002ul ESO curvature sensor
AO systems which were originally de-

veloped \ue002or the inter\ue002erometry \ue002eed o\ue002 the
VLT UTs, but were later also used \ue002or the
VLT instruments SINFONI and CRIRES
(see Arsenault et al. \ue001004, Bonnet et al.
\ue001004 or Pau\ue000que et al. \ue001004; alternatively
one can consult the ESO AO webpage

http://www.eso.org/projects/aot/wh i ch
contains detailed in\ue002ormation).

In mid-\ue001005 the assembly and integration
activities o\ue002 CRIRES had progressed such
that the in-depth veri\ue000cation o\ue002 the per-
\ue002ormance could be started. As the re-
quirements on stability and reproducibility
are relatively demanding this test phase
resulted in requests \ue002or a variety o\ue002 modi-
\ue000cations which did not allow keeping the
original schedule.

However, in February \ue001006 CRIRES ulti-
mately passed the last \ue002undamental mile-

stone on its way to the VLT: the success-
\ue002ul completion o\ue002 an \u2018end-to-end\u2019 test
o\ue002 the system. Using a simulated cool star
(black-body source and a gas cell with
CO mimicking a COmosphere1) and a tur-
bulence generator to generate \u2018seeing\u2019,
the overall stability o\ue002 the system, that is
the Adaptive Optics System and the
cryogenic spectrograph, was checked by
recording spectra over many hours.
The result o\ue002 this test was that vibrations
and other instabilities are generally at
a level o\ue002 the equivalent o\ue002 1/\ue0010th o\ue002 a
pixel (75 m/s Doppler shi\ue002t equivalent) or
less and thus in line with the speci\ue000ca-
tions refecting the astrophysical require-

How to move CRIRES \ue002rom Garching
to the VLT

Like any other VLT instrument, CRIRES
had to pass the scrutiny o\ue002 a review
be\ue002ore shipment, termed PAE (Preliminary
Acceptance Europe) in \u2018ESO-speak\u2019.
CRIRES consists o\ue002 two relatively inde-
pendent subunits: the adaptive optics
part with the derotator, also carrying the
calibration \ue002acilities and the cryostat
with the cryogenic optical bench. Hence
it was decided to split the PAE process
in two, and to have the \u2018warm optics\u2019 part
reviewed ahead o\ue002 the rest o\ue002 the instru-

1 COmosphere is a term coined by Tom Ayres to
account \ue002or the very special chromospheres o\ue002 cool
stars dominated by the CO-molecule.

ment. This approach is also very much in
line with the reintegration process at
the VLT. The integration, alignment and
testing o\ue002 the AO part require special
tools and a special test camera which in
turn require a sequential integration at the
telescope. The CRIRES warm-optics
acceptance review took place at ESO on
\ue0014 February \ue001006, and therea\ue002ter packing
and shipment o\ue002 the units could start,
subject to \ue002ew additional checks. Packing
o\ue002 the \u2018warm optics\u2019 \ue000nally started on
\ue0018 February \ue001006 and the crates le\ue002t ESO
Headquarters on 8 March \ue001006. All
boxes o\ue002 this \ue000rst batch arrived in good
order on Paranal on 17 March and
were met by a joint team o\ue002 the ESO In-
strumentation and Telescope Systems
Divisions. Reintegration and installation o\ue002
the components progressed rapidly with
hardly any problem.

In the meantime, the CRIRES cold part
underwent \ue002urther improvements and

testing in Garching. By the time o\ue002 writing
o\ue002 this article the PAE \ue002or the complete
instrument had been granted and the
spectrograph arrived in good order on
Paranal on 5 May. The commissioning o\ue002
the complete instrument will be reported
in the next issue o\ue002The Messenger.

Testing the adaptive optics at the

The commissioning o\ue002 the warm-optics
part ran in parallel with the \ue000nal pre-
paration \ue002or the second part o\ue002 the PAE.
Thanks to the joint e\ue002\ue002orts o\ue002 the team
and o\ue002 Paranal sta\ue002\ue002, the integration and
realignment o\ue002 the warm part in Paranal
were success\ue002ul: the MACAO system is
now \ue002unctional at \ue002ull per\ue002ormance level.

Figure 1a shows the adaptive-optics part
o\ue002 CRIRES a\ue002ter reintegration. For test
purposes an in\ue002rared test camera with
a spatial sampling o\ue002 17 mas/pix (milli-arc-
seconds per pixel) was additionally in-
stalled to characterise the AO per\ue002orm-
ance (to be compared with the di\ue002\ue002raction
limit: e.g. 1.\ue001l/D = 45 mas at 1.45 \u03bcm).
In \ue002act, once CRIRES is installed with its
in\ue002rared slit viewer, the sampling \u2013

The Messenger 124 \u2013 June \ue001006
Figure 1a: A view o\ue002 the CRIRES \u2018warm optics\u2019 near-

ly completely installed on the Nasmyth A plat\ue002orm o\ue002
Antu (aka VLT UT1). The le\ue002t electronics rack houses
most o\ue002 the entire AO related electronics, that is the
real-time computer, the local control unit (LCU), the
adaptive mirror control and the power supplies \ue002or all
motors. Moreover the warm optics part comprises
the calibration unit with continuum sources, spectral
lamps and the gas-cell slide, which allows to port
the \u2018Iodine-cell-method\u2019 \ue002or high-precision radial-ve-
locity measurements into the in\ue002rared. The electron-
ics rack in the centre is an auxiliary rack \ue002or the in-
\ue002rared test camera (which can be seen on the right
side in preparation: the shiny cryostat cylinder on a
blue table). At this point a normal CCD camera is still
used \ue002or alignment. For the refection in the centre,

see Figure 1b.
Figure 1b:A team member, trying to sort out and re-

connect the \ue000bre bundle connecting the wave-\ue002ront
sensor lenslet array with the 60 avalanche photo di-
odes (APDs) contained in a special cabinet. The
APDs are solid-state photon-counting detectors. As
curvature wave\ue002ront sensing systems basically need
only one \ue002ast photometric channel per sub-pupil,
APDs were given pre\ue002erence over CCD-detectors,
due to their extremely low noise level (typically
0.4 counts per loop cycle). APDs, however, are very
sensitive and \ue002ragile devices, and the prevention o\ue002
accidental (and catastrophic) overexposures is a key

\ue001 The \ue000rst author remembers that during the time

o\ue002 his thesis project \ue0010 years ago, 1 arcsec im-
age quality on a \ue001\u20134-m-class telescope was con-
sidered \u2018excellent\u2019 and \ue001 arcsec was certainly
average quality. Against this background, the im-
ages shown here constitute an amazing achieve-
ment o\ue002 technology.

45 mas/pix \u2013 is no longer well suited to explore the AO-image quality (this cam- era scale was chosen to be able to ex- plore a larger \ue000eld \ue002or o\ue002\ue002set-guiding).

Figure 1b shows part o\ue002 the integration.

Figure \ue001 (next page) shows details inside
the MACAO box. The commissioning
culminated within a \ue002ew minutes o\ue002 twi-
light on 3 April to check the derotator
algorithm. O\ue002\ue000cial \ue000rst light \ue002or the adap-
tive optics part with the in\ue002rared test
camera was on 6 April when the AO con-
trol loop was closed at \ue0013h\ue0014 UT on the
5th-magnitude B-starh Muscae. The
\ue002ollowing commissioning tasks could be
\ue000nished so smoothly that the team gave
back one night o\ue002 commissioning time.
The AO system characteristics are sum-
marised in Table 1 and Figure 3 (next
page) shows \u2013 as an example \u2013 an image
o\ue002 Io, the innermost Galilean moon o\ue002
Jupiter with one o\ue002 its active volcanoes

showing up as a \u2018hot spot\u2019\ue001. The system
has proven its stability by observing in all

typical seeing conditions \ue002rom 0.5 up to
1.5 arcsec. For bright stars with mR < 11,
Strehl ratios inK-band above 55 % are
obtained \ue002or median seeing conditions
(0.8?,t0 between 3 and 4 ms at 0.5 \u03bcm),
at the level o\ue002 per\ue002ormance o\ue002 the other

MACAO units.

The commissioning o\ue002 the complete sys-
tem is ongoing and everything is pre-
pared \ue002or \ue000rst light on 4 June. A second
commissioning run and potentially some
science veri\ue000cation are planned \ue002or

4\u201313 August \ue001006. In mid-June there will
be a \ue000rst call \ue002or proposals \ue002or science
veri\ue000cation programmes and at this point
CRIRES will most likely be included in
the next call \ue002or proposals (P79). More
science veri\ue000cation is planned \ue002or P78
(1 October \ue001006 to 31 March \ue001007) and
potentially also an early start o\ue002 opera-
tions o\ue002 CRIRES \ue002or normal programmes
selected by ESO\u2019s OPC through the nor-
mal selection process.

Arsenault R. et al. \ue001004, The Messenger 117, \ue0015
Bonnet H. et al. \ue001004, SPIE proc. 5490, 130
K\u00e4uf H. U. et al. \ue001004, SPIE proc. 549\ue001, 1\ue00118
Moorwood A. F. M. \ue001003, The Messenger 114, 5
Pau\ue000que J. et al. \ue001004, SPIE proc. 5490, \ue00116

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