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Jocou L.,University Grenoble alpes | Jocou L.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Perraut K.,University Grenoble alpes | Perraut K.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 14 more authors.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2014

Gravity is one of the second-generation instruments of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer that operates in the near infrared range and that is designed for precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric imaging. With its infrared wavefront sensors, pupil stabilization, fringe tracker, and metrology, the instrument is tailored to provide a high sensitivity, imaging with 4-millisecond resolution, and astrometry with a 10μarcsec precision. It will probe physics close to the event horizon of the Galactic Centre black hole, and allow to study mass accretion and jets in young stellar objects and active galactic nuclei, planet formation in circumstellar discs, or detect and measure the masses of black holes in massive star clusters throughout the Milky Way. As the instrument required an outstanding level of precision and stability, integrated optics has been chosen to collect and combine the four VLTI beams in the K band. A dedicated integrated optics chip glued to a fiber array has been developed. Technology breakthroughs have been mandatory to fulfill all the specifications. This paper is focused on the interferometric beam combination system of Gravity. Once the combiner concept described, the paper details the developments that have been led, the integration and the performance of the assemblies. © 2014 SPIE.

Lazareff B.,University Grenoble alpes | Lazareff B.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Blind N.,Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics | Jocou L.,University Grenoble alpes | And 11 more authors.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2014

We use a numerical model of the birefringence in the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) and the Gravity instrument to study the astrometric phase errors that arise when two conditions are simultaneously present: differential birefringence between two VLTI arms, and different polarizations of the science and fringe tracker sources. We present measurements of the VLTI birefringence, that are used to validate our model. We show how a suitable alignment of the eigenvectors of the optical train eliminates the phase error. © 2014 SPIE.

Wank I.,University of Cologne | Straubmeier C.,University of Cologne | Wiest M.,University of Cologne | Yazici S.,University of Cologne | And 11 more authors.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2014

GRAVITY is a 2nd generation VLTI Instrument o which operates on 6 interferometric baselines by using all 4 Unit Telescopes. It will deliver narrow angle astrometry with 10μas accuracy at the infrared K-band. At the 1. Physikalische Institut of the University of Cologne, which is part of the international GRAVITY consortium, two spectrometers, one for the sciene object, and one for the fringe tracking object, have been designed, manufactured and tested. These spectrometers are two individual devices, each with own housing and interfaces. For a minimized thermal background, the spectrometers are actively cooled down to an operating temperature of 80K in the ambient temperature environment of the Beam Combiner Instrument (BCI) cryostat. The outer casings are mounted thermal isolated to the base plate by glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP) stands, copper cooling structures conduct the cold inside the spectrometers where it is routed to components via Cu cooling stripes. The spectrometers are covered with shells made of multi insulation foil. There will be shown and compared 3 cooling installations: setups in the Cologne test dewar, in the BCI dewar and in a mock-up cad model. There are some striking differences between the setup in the 2 different dewars. In the Cologne Test dewar the spectrometers are connected to the coldplate (80K); a Cu cooling structure and the thermal isolating GRP stands are bolted to the coldplate. In the BCI dewer Cu cooling structure is connected to the bottom of the nitrogen tank (80K), the GRP stands are bolted to the base plate (240K). The period of time during the cooldown process will be analyzed. © 2014 SPIE.

Bianchi F.,Paul Scherrer Institute | Praplan A.P.,University of Helsinki | Sarnela N.,University of Helsinki | Dommen J.,Paul Scherrer Institute | And 57 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2014

We investigated the nucleation of sulfuric acid together with two bases (ammonia and dimethylamine), at the CLOUD chamber at CERN. The chemical composition of positive, negative, and neutral clusters was studied using three Atmospheric Pressure interface-Time Of Flight (APi-TOF) mass spectrometers: two were operated in positive and negative mode to detect the chamber ions, while the third was equipped with a nitrate ion chemical ionization source allowing detection of neutral clusters. Taking into account the possible fragmentation that can happen during the charging of the ions or within the first stage of the mass spectrometer, the cluster formation proceeded via essentially one-to-one acid-base addition for all of the clusters, independent of the type of the base. For the positive clusters, the charge is carried by one excess protonated base, while for the negative clusters it is carried by a deprotonated acid; the same is true for the neutral clusters after these have been ionized. During the experiments involving sulfuric acid and dimethylamine, it was possible to study the appearance time for all the clusters (positive, negative, and neutral). It appeared that, after the formation of the clusters containing three molecules of sulfuric acid, the clusters grow at a similar speed, independent of their charge. The growth rate is then probably limited by the arrival rate of sulfuric acid or cluster-cluster collision. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Gordo P.,CENTRA SIM | Amorim A.,CENTRA SIM | Abreu J.,CENTRA SIM | Eisenhauer F.,Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics | And 12 more authors.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2014

The GRAVITY Acquisition Camera was designed to monitor and evaluate the optical beam properties of the four ESO/VLT telescopes simultaneously. The data is used as part of the GRAVITY beam stabilization strategy. Internally the Acquisition Camera has four channels each with: several relay mirrors, imaging lens, H-band filter, a single custom made silica bulk optics (i.e. Beam Analyzer) and an IR detector (HAWAII2-RG). The camera operates in vacuum with operational temperature of: 240k for the folding optics and enclosure, 100K for the Beam Analyzer optics and 80K for the detector. The beam analysis is carried out by the Beam Analyzer, which is a compact assembly of fused silica prisms and lenses that are glued together into a single optical block. The beam analyzer handles the four telescope beams and splits the light from the field mode into the pupil imager, the aberration sensor and the pupil tracker modes. The complex optical alignment and focusing was carried out first at room temperature with visible light, using an optical theodolite/alignment telescope, cross hairs, beam splitter mirrors and optical path compensator. The alignment was validated at cryogenic temperatures. High Strehl ratios were achieved at the first cooldown. In the paper we present the Acquisition Camera as manufactured, focusing key sub-systems and key technical challenges, the room temperature (with visible light) alignment and first IR images acquired in cryogenic operation. © 2014 SPIE.

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