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MATISSE passes Final Design Review successfully

Submitter: Felix Bettonvil
Description: MATISSE, the mid-infrared spectrographic and interferometric instrument for the VLTI, for which NOVA's Optical-IR instrumentation Group at ASTRON builds the Cold Optical bench, faced from April 25-27 its Final Design Review at ESO's headquarters in Garching.

The review went very well, with many congratulations from the board, in particular in relation to the high quality of the presented work as well as the noticed collaborative style of working. It resulted in green light to enter the manufacturing phase.

MATISSE (Multi-AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) is designed to combine the beams of up to four telescopes of the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). With this new instrument, the VLTI science will benefit from two major breakthroughs with respect to its predecessor MIDI: two new observing windows at the VLTI, and the capability of measuring closure phase relations which offers a capability for image reconstruction. No other instruments in the world will offer the same capabilities, thus placing the VLTI at the forefront of interferometry in these wavelength bands.

MATISSE enables study of wavelength-dependent characteristics of gas and dust grains and its complex geometries: study of formation and evolution of the planetary systems, study of Active Galactic Nuclei and high-contrast environment of evolved stars.

ASTRON's workpackage, The Cold Optical Bench, is the most complex part of MATISSE, with ~200 optical components, located into two cryostats of roughly 700x700x400mm size, and over 8x20m(!) path length. The cramped envelope required a specific design approach with early interaction between the different design disciplines. Individual alignment of each component would be disastrous, and thus was chosen for alignment achieved by manufacturing accuracy.

The Cold Optical bench MATISSE is planned to be ready mid 2013, when it will leave Dwingeloo for tests at MPIA/Heidelberg and OCA/Nice. Shipment to Chile is planned for autumn 2015.
Copyright: NOVA-ASTRON
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