Application of atmospheric OH suppression technology to ground-based infrared astronomy

Kyler Kuehn*, Stephen Kuhlmann, Simon Ellis, Nathaniel Stern, Pufan Liu, Hannah Caldwell-Meurer, Harold Spinka, David Underwood, Robert Kehoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

We seek to advance the capabilities of photonic technologies in support of ground-based infrared astronomy. Currently, observers in this field suffer from an irreducible background generated by emission from OH (hydroxyl) molecules in the upper atmosphere. However, if narrow-band notch filters could be incorporated into the optical path of astronomical instruments prior to any optical elements that would spectrally broaden such emission lines, then this background could be effectively suppressed with very little accompanying loss of signal from the astronomical sources of interest. Micron-scale ring resonators are one technology that provides a promising method of generating such notch filters. Building on our previous efforts in astrophotonic technology development, our current goals are 1) to optimize the design of ring resonators so that the notch filters they create provide greatest suppression at the wavelengths of the most prominent OH lines, and 2) to optimize the coupling of the resonator-equipped silicon devices with the input fibers (from the sky) and output fibers (to the spectrograph and detector) such that the throughput losses do not completely eliminate the signal-To-noise improvement gained from the OH suppression. Theoretical estimates show that suppression (by 20-40dB) of the most prominent OH lines improves the signal to noise of near-IR observations by a factor of 5 or more-this is similar in effect to turning a telescope with a 1m aperture into a telescope with a 5m aperture!

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation IV
EditorsRamon Navarro, Roland Geyl
PublisherSPIE
ISBN (Electronic)9781510636897
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
EventAdvances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation IV 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Dec 14 2020Dec 22 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume11451
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X

Conference

ConferenceAdvances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation IV 2020
CountryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online
Period12/14/2012/22/20

Keywords

  • astronomical instrumentation
  • infrared spectroscopy
  • photonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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