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Murphy, Jeremy D.; Hill, Gary J.; MacQueen, Phillip J.; Taylor, Trey; Soukup, Ian; Moreira, Walter; Cornell, Mark E.; Good, John; Anderson, Seth; Fuller, Lindsay; Lee, Hanshin; Kelz, Andreas; Rafal, Marc; Rafferty, Tom; Tuttle, Sarah; Vattiat, Brian (2013)
Languages: English
Types: Preprint
Subjects: Physics - Instrumentation and Detectors, Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
We report on extensive testing carried out on the optical fibers for the VIRUS instrument. The primary result of this work explores how 10+ years of simulated wear on a VIRUS fiber bundle affects both transmission and focal ratio degradation (FRD) of the optical fibers. During the accelerated lifetime tests we continuously monitored the fibers for signs of FRD. We find that transient FRD events were common during the portions of the tests when motion was at telescope slew rates, but dropped to negligible levels during rates of motion typical for science observation. Tests of fiber transmission and FRD conducted both before and after the lifetime tests reveal that while transmission values do not change over the 10+ years of simulated wear, a clear increase in FRD is seen in all 18 fibers tested. This increase in FRD is likely due to microfractures that develop over time from repeated flexure of the fiber bundle, and stands in contrast to the transient FRD events that stem from localized stress and subsequent modal diffusion of light within the fibers. There was no measurable wavelength dependence on the increase in FRD over 350 nm to 600 nm. We also report on bend radius tests conducted on individual fibers and find the 266 microns VIRUS fibers to be immune to bending-induced FRD at bend radii of R > 10cm. Below this bend radius FRD increases slightly with decreasing radius. Lastly, we give details of a degradation seen in the fiber bundle currently deployed on the Mitchell Spectrograph (formally VIRUS-P) at McDonald Observatory. The degradation is shown to be caused by a localized shear in a select number of optical fibers that leads to an explosive form of FRD. In a few fibers, the overall transmission loss through the instrument can exceed 80%.
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