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Towards 3D-photonic, multi-telescope beam combiners for mid-infrared astrointerferometry

: Diener, R.; Tepper, J.; Labadie, L.; Pertsch, T.; Nolte, S.; Minardi, S.

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Optics Express 25 (2017), Nr.16, S.19262-19274
ISSN: 1094-4087
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IOF ()

In the past two decades high precision optical astronomical interferometry has benefited from the use of photonic technologies. Today, near-infrared interferometric instruments deliver high-resolution, hyperspectral images of astronomical objects and combine up to 4 independent telescopes at a time thanks to integrated optics (IO). Following the success of IO interferometry, several initiatives aim at developing components which could combine simultaneously more telescopes and extend their operation beyond the near-infrared bands. Here we report on the development of multi-telescope IO beam combiners for mid-infrared interferometry exploiting the three-dimensional (3D) structuring capabilities of ultrafast laser inscription. We characterise the capability of a 2-telescope and a 4-telescope beam combiner to retrieve the visibility amplitude and phase of monochromatic light fields at a wavelength of 3.39 µm. The combiner prototypes exploit different 3D architectures and are written with a femtosecond laser on substrates of Gallium Lanthanum Sulfide. Supporting numerical simulations of the performance of the beam combiners show that there is still room for improvement and indicate a roadmap for the development of future prototypes.