Technical layout and fabrication of a compact all-glass four-channel beam splitter based on a Kösters design
We report on the design and fabrication of a novel all-glass four-channel beam splitter based on a Kösters prism for use in space. The Kösters prism, which consists of three pairs of individual prisms, is used to separate an incoming telescope beam into four spectral channels (λ = 800-1700 nm) with the goal to obtain a multi-band photometry of cosmic sources in the optical/near-infrared bands. We performed optical design studies to evaluate the influence of geometrical tolerances of the six individual prisms on the image quality. A stray light analysis revealed the impact of the composition on the overall optical performance. Mechanical design studies benchmarked possible mounting strategies. We considered optical adhesives, soldering and clamping. The influence of the mechanical loads during a rocket launch as well as thermal loads at 140 K (the operation temperature of the optical element) were studied. We optimized the coating properties of the prisms by considering the results from the optical design study as well as the technological requirements for the direct bonding of the prisms. Bonding strategies to realize the prism pairs were developed and successfully tested. A demonstrator Kösters prism was manufactured and is ready to validate its optical performance.