Success Story

The University of Notre Dame astrophysics uses OpticStudio to simulate diffraction-limited spectrograph performance for the Large Binocular Telescope

The Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame (UND) in Indiana supports wide-ranging astronomy research from ground-based optical and infrared astronomy, as well as in space science and theoretical astrophysics and cosmology. Many of its ground-based observational achievements come from its famous partnership with one of the world's most powerful and versatile telescope projects, the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) at the Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona. 

UND originally used Zemax to design and optimize the instrument fiber injection system for LBT, which was successfully commissioned at the telescope in 2019. More recently, the university has embarked on developing the Doppler spectrometer element of the instrument that includes one of the first diffraction-limited spectrographs to be used for extremely precise RV studies of exoplanets. To achieve this sub-meter-per-second precision, it was necessary to build capabilities into a spectrograph for its iLocater project, the first optimized single-mode fiber fed radial velocity-based instrument for the exoplanetary discovery and study.

Read the full story  to learn how Zemax OpticStudio played a key role in enabling the iLocater team to accurately simulate and track end-to-end diffraction-limited performance for a Gaussian system, an essential need for developing iLocater as well as other diffraction-limited spectrographs in the future. 

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