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PEPSI: The high-resolution ichelle spectrograph and polarimeter for the Large Binocular Telescope

: Strassmeier, K.G.; Ilyin, I.; Järvinen, A.; Weber, M.; Woche, M.; Barnes, S.I.; Bauer, S.-M.; Beckert, Eric; Bittner, W.; Bredthauer, R.; Carroll, T.A.; Denker, C.; Dionies, F.; DiVarano, I.; Döscher, D.; Fechner, T.; Feuerstein, D.; Granzer, T.; Hahn, T.; Harnisch, G.; Hofmann, A.; Lesser, M.; Paschke, J.; Pankratow, S.; Plank, V.; Plüschke, D.; Popow, E.; Sablowski, D.; Storm, J.


Astronomische Nachrichten = Astronomical notes 336 (2015), Nr.4, S.324-361
ISSN: 0004-6337
ISSN: 1521-3994
Fraunhofer IOF ()

PEPSI is the bench-mounted, two-arm, fibre-fed and stabilized Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument for the 2×8.4 m Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Three spectral resolutions of either 43 000, 120 000 or 270 000 can cover the entire optical/red wavelength range from 383 to 907 nm in three exposures. Two 10.3k×10.3k CCDs with 9-µm pixels and peak quantum efficiencies of 94–96 % record a total of 92 échelle orders. We introduce a new variant of a wave-guide image slicer with 3, 5, and 7 slices and peak efficiencies between 92–96 %. A total of six cross dispersers cover the six wavelength settings of the spectrograph, two of them always simultaneously. These are made of a VPH-grating sandwiched by two prisms. The peak efficiency of the system, including the telescope, is 15 % at 650 nm, and still 11 % and 10 % at 390 nm and 900 nm, respectively. In combination with the 110 m2 light-collecting capability of the LBT, we expect a limiting magnitude of ≈20th mag in V in the low-resolution mode. The R = 120 000 mode can also be used with two, dual-beam Stokes IQUV polarimeters. The 270 000-mode is made possible with the 7-slice image slicer and a 100-µm fibre through a projected sky aperture of 0.74″, comparable to the median seeing of the LBT site. The 43 000-mode with 12-pixel sampling per resolution element is our bad seeing or faint-object mode. Any of the three resolution modes can either be used with sky fibers for simultaneous sky exposures or with light from a stabilized Fabry-Pérot étalon for ultra-precise radial velocities. CCD-image processing is performed with the dedicated data-reduction and analysis package PEPSI-S4S. Its full error propagation through all image-processing steps allows an adaptive selection of parameters by using statistical inferences and robust estimators. A solar feed makes use of PEPSI during day time and a 500-m feed from the 1.8 m VATT can be used when the LBT is busy otherwise. In this paper, we present the basic instrument design, its realization, and its characteristics. Some pre-commissioning first-light spectra shall demonstrate the basic functionality.