A concept for a superconducting tunnelling junction based spectrograph

Mark Cropper, M. Barlow, M. A.C. Ferryman, Keith Horne, R. Bingham, M. Page, P. Guttridge, A. Smith, A. Peacock, D. Walker, P. Charles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a multi-order spectrograph concept suitable for 8-m class telescopes, using the intrinsic spectral resolution of superconducting tunnelling junction detectors to sort the spectral orders. The spectrograph works at low orders, 1-5 or 1-6, and provides spectral coverage with a resolving power of R ≃ 8000 from the atmospheric cut-off at 320 nm to the long-wavelength end of the infrared H or K band at 1800 nm or 2400 nm. We calculate that the spectrograph would provide substantial throughput and wavelength coverage, together with high time resolution and sufficient dynamic range. The concept uses currently available technology, or technologies with short development horizons, restricting the spatial sampling to two linear arrays; however, an upgrade path to provide more spatial sampling is identified. All of the other challenging aspects of the concept - the cryogenics, thermal baffling and magnetic field biasing - are identified as being feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


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