Publication archive

Publication archive

Submitted to 'Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey', (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/bpa/BPA_049810), Science White Papers, no. 248

JWST will play a central role, along with other new capabilities such as Herschel, ALMA, and large groundbased telescopes, in advancing our understanding of the four key questions:

  • How do interstellar clouds of gas and dust begin their collapse into stars?
  • What processes regulate the star formation following this collapse?
  • How do planets form in dense disks of gas and dust around young stars?
  • What is the subsequent evolution of planetary systems?
Published: 31 December 2009
AAS Meeting #213, #426.10

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is a multipurpose imager, coronagraph, and spectrometer for the James Webb Space Telescope. It provides wavelength coverage from 5 through 28 microns and is an integral contributor to all four of JWST's primary science themes. MIRI is being developed as a partnership between NASA and ESA, with JPL providing the Focal Plane System (FPS, consisting of the detectors, control electronics, and flight software) and the cooler, and a consortium of European astronomical institutes providing the optical bench and structure. The flight FPS is being prepared for delivery to the European Consortium for its integration into the optical bench, while the cooler is nearing its Critical Design Review. We describe the capabilities of the FPS and cooler, present test results and the predicted sensitivity performance of the FPS, and update the current status of each these systems. The research described in this poster was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Published: 15 January 2009
AAS Meeting #213, #426.12

The recycling of matter between the interstellar medium (ISM) and stars are key evolutionary drivers of a galaxy's baryonic matter. The Spitzer and JWST/MIRI wavelengths provide a sensitive probe of circumstellar and interstellar dust and hence, allow us to study the physical processes of the ISM, the formation of new stars and the injection of mass by evolved stars and their relationships on the galaxy-wide scale. We have performed a uniform and unbiased imaging survey of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC, 7x7 degrees), using the IRAC (3.6, 4.5, 5.8 and 8 microns) and MIPS (24, 70, and 160 microns) instruments on board the Spitzer Space Telescope (Spitzer) in order to survey the agents of a galaxy's evolution (SAGE): the ISM, young stellar objects (YSOs) and dusty evolved stars (Meixner et al. 2006). Initial results from SAGE have revealed >1000 new YSOs (Whitney et al. 2008), a detailed map of the dust and ISM mass (Bernard et al. 2008) and estimates of the dusty mass-loss return (Srinivsan et al., submitted) of the 30,000 dusty evolved stars (Blum et al. 2006). Here we describe how the powerful capabilities of the JWST MIRI can be used to followup these new discoveries of SAGE-LMC and also how SAGE-like studies can be extended to nearby galaxies.

The SAGE Project is supported by NASA/Spitzer grant 1275598 and MIRI science team work is supported by NASA NAG5-12595.

Published: 15 January 2009
This study presents the molecular conductance measurement of a labyrinth seal introduced for the Contamination Control Cover which is protecting the cryogenic optical surfaces of the mid-infrared instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope against molecular contaminants from the environment. The conductance has been measured in the molecular pressure regime between 10-7 and 10-3 mbar within a temperature range of 300 K and 10 K for several typical omponents of the expected residual gas such as H2O, NH3, CO2, H2, NO, alcohols and hydrocarbons as well as standard gases such as N2 and He. The measurements have been repeated with a thin orifice to verify the systematics. The results are well consistent with numerically derived values and demonstrate a robust understanding of the design and performance of the labyrinth seal.
Published: 15 January 2009
In the book "Science with the VLT in the ELT Era", Moorwood, Alan F.M. (Ed.), book series "Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings", ISSN:1570-6591, doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9190-2, part V, pp. 301-305

Some first results from the Integral Field Spectroscopy Survey of (U)LIRGs using VLT instruments VIMOS and SINFONI are presented. Detailed studies of the two-dimensional ionization structure and kinematics of the stars and different gas phases are within reach with IFS techniques on 8 m class telescopes. The perspectives of extending these studies to high-z galaxies with future IFS instruments (NIRSpec and MIRI) onboard JWST are considered.

Published: 21 November 2008
Coronagraphs are powerful instruments to reduce diffraction from a bright source in order to detect planets. Four coronagraphs will be installed in MIRI, the Mid-InfraRed Instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope. To further reduce the diffraction in addition to the coronagraph, a calibration of the residual speckle pattern can be obtained, for instance, with a reference star (or alternatively on the target star at a different roll angle). For this calibration to be accurate, the diffraction pattern of the two coronagraphic images must be as similar as possible. We study the accuracy of the star image positioning onto the coronagraph to reach acceptable performance: we proved that pointing reproducibility must be better than 5 mas rms per axis while the absolute pointing can be relaxed to 10 mas rms. The choice of algorithm is driven by the level of accuracy to be reached in the presence of a nonlinear system like the coronagraph. We first study their bias, and then we estimate their sensitivity to different sources of noises in the context of MIRI. And finally, for practical matter, we derive the necessary exposure time to obtain the centroid on an actual star.
Published: 05 September 2008
"Advanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation". Edited by Atad-Ettedgui, Eli; Lemke, Dietrich. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7018, pp. 70180R-70180R-13 (2008)

The NIRSpec OA (optical assembly) design largely relies on SiC components. The properties of the SiC material and very tight stability budgets required a dedicated development process. Starting from validation of design principles by breadboard testing, this paper describes the development process up to the SM test of the NIRSpec optical assembly. From breadboard testing the design of the mounting interface was established. The test programme also included gluing processes, torque free mounting of mirrors and verification of stability of friction joints. The basic design rules for the mirrors to cope with distortion of mirror surfaces due to bi-metallic bending effects and flatness deficiencies were derived. A modular design using 3 TMAs (Three Mirror Anastigmats) was followed for the OA. From the overall design, budget allocations and design loads for the TMAs were determined. The detailed design process was then driven by distortion budget allocations derived from optical analysis. Due to stringent stability requirements and high mechanical loads, most elements needed several design iterations to meet the budget allocations. Finally, distortions and displacements of the optical elements under the predictable in-orbit conditions were calculated and used in the optical model. The effects can be partially compensated by adjustment. The budget allocation was then revised to account for non-predictable effects only.
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Published: 26 July 2008
In "Advanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation", edited by Eli Atad-Ettedgui, Dietrich Lemke, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7018, 701823, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.789148

The JWST Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is designed to meet the JWST science requirements for mid-IR capabilities and includes an Imager MIRIM provided by CEA (France). A double-prism assembly (DPA) allows MIRIM to perform low-resolution spectroscopy. The MIRIM DPA shall meet a number of challenging requirements in terms of optical and mechanical constraints, especially severe optical tolerances, limited envelope and very high vibration loads. The University of Cologne (Germany) and the Centre Spatial de Liege (Belgium) are responsible for design, manufacturing, integration, and testing of the prism assembly. A companion paper (Fischer et al. 2008) is presenting the science drivers and mechanical design of the DPA, while this paper is focusing on optical manufacturing and overall verification processes. The first part of this paper describes the manufacturing of Zinc-sulphide and Germanium prisms and techniques to ensure an accurate positioning of the prisms in their holder. (1) The delicate manufacturing of Ge and ZnS materials and (2) the severe specifications on the bearing and optical surfaces flatness and the tolerance on the prism optical angles make this process innovating. The specifications verification is carried out using mechanical and optical measurements; the implemented techniques are described in this paper. The second part concerns the qualification program of the double-prism assembly, including the prisms, the holder and the prisms anti-reflective coatings qualification. Both predictions and actual test results are shown.

Published: 26 July 2008
In "High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy III", edited by David A. Dorn, Andrew D. Holland, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7021, 70210O, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.789606

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is a 5 to 28 micron imager and spectrometer that is slated to fly aboard the JWST in 2013. Each of the flight arrays is a 1024x1024 pixel Si:As impurity band conductor detector array, developed by RaytheonVision Systems. JPL, in conjunction with the MIRI science team, has selected the three flight arrays along with their spares. We briefly summarize the development of these devices, then describe the measured performance of the flight arrays along with supplemental data from sister flight-like parts.

Published: 25 July 2008
Advanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation. Edited by Atad-Ettedgui, Eli; Lemke, Dietrich. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7018, pp. 70181Y-70181Y-15 (2008)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission is a collaborative project between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and is considered as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The European contribution consists in providing the Ariane 5 launcher and two out of the four instruments: a combined mid-infrared camera/spectrograph (MIRI) and a near infrared spectrograph (NIRSpec). This article will address the mechanical aspects of NIRSpec by providing an overview of the design drivers and the related solutions for the structure, the thermal design and the mechanisms so as to achieve the required stringent optical performances. The industrial set-up and the project development status will also be presented.

Published: 24 July 2008
Advanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation. Edited by Atad-Ettedgui, Eli; Lemke, Dietrich. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7018, pp. 701821-701821-12 (2008)

The Grating and Filter Wheel Mechanisms of the JWST NIRSpec instrument allow for reconfiguration of the spectrograph in space in a number of NIR sub-bands and spectral resolutions. Challenging requirements need to be met simultaneously including high launch loads, the large temperature shift to cryo-space, high position repeatability and minimum deformation of the mounted optics. The design concept of the NIRSpec wheel mechanisms is based on the ISOPHOT Filter Wheels but with significant enhancements to support much larger optics. A well-balanced set of design parameters was to be found and a considerable effort was spent to adjust the hardware within narrow tolerances.

Published: 24 July 2008
High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy III. Edited by Dorn, David A.; Holland, Andrew D. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7021, pp. 702127-702127-12 (2008)

We present interim results from the characterization test development for the Detector Subsystem of the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). NIRSpec will be the primary near-infrared spectrograph on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The Detector Subsystem consists of a Focal Plane Assembly containing two Teledyne HAWAII-2RG arrays, two Teledyne SIDECAR cryogenic application specific integrated circuits, and a warm Focal Plane Electronics box. The Detector Characterization Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will perform the Detector Subsystem characterization tests. In this paper, we update the initial test results obtained with engineering grade components.

Published: 23 July 2008
In "High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy III", edited by David A. Dorn, Andrew D. Holland, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7021, 70210N, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.789726

We present the development of a Focal Plane Module (FPM) for the Mid-Infrared Instrument on JWST. MIRI will include three FPMs, two for the spectrometer channels and one for the imager channel. The FPMs are designed to support the detectors at an operating temperature of 6.7 K with high temperature stability and precision alignment while being capable of surviving the launch environment. The flight units will be built and will undergo a rigorous test program in the first half of 2008. This paper includes a description of the full test program and will present the results.

Published: 23 July 2008
In "Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter", edited by Jacobus M. Oschmann, Jr., Mattheus W. M. de Graauw, Howard A. MacEwen, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7010, 70103K, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.788672

We present how it is achieved to mount a double prism in the filter wheel of MIRIM - the imager of JWST's Mid Infrared Instrument. In order to cope with the extreme conditions of the prisms' surroundings, the low resolution double prism assembly (LRSDPA) design makes high demands on manufacturing accuracy. The design and the manufacturing of the mechanical parts are presented here, while 'Manufacturing and verification of ZnS and Ge prisms for the JWST MIRI imager' are described in a second paper. We also give insights on the astronomical possibilities of a sensitive MIR spectrometer. Low resolution prism spectroscopy in the wavelength range from 5-10 microns will allow to spectroscopically determine redshifts of objects close to/at the re-ionization phase of the universe.

Published: 13 July 2008
In "Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter", edited by Jacobus M. Oschmann, Jr., Mattheus W. M. de Graauw, Howard A. MacEwen, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7010, 70100W, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.789089

One of the main objectives of the instrument MIRI, the Mid-InfraRed Instrument, of the JWST is the direct detection and characterization of extrasolar giant planets. For that purpose, a coronagraphic device including three Four-Quadrant Phase Masks and a Lyot coronagraph working in mid-infrared, has been developed. We present here the results of the first test campaign of the coronagraphic system in the mid-infrared in the facility developed at the CEA. The performances are compared to the expected ones from the coronagraphic simulations. The accuracy of the centering procedures is also evaluated to validate the choice of the on-board centering algorithm.

Published: 13 July 2008
In "Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter", edited by Jacobus M. Oschmann, Jr., Mattheus W. M. de Graauw, Howard A. MacEwen. Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7010, 701039, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.788750

The MTS, MIRI Telescope Simulator, is developed by INTA as the Spanish contribution of MIRI (Mid InfraRed Instrument) on board JWST (James Web Space Telescope). The MTS is considered as optical equipment which is part of Optical Ground Support Equipment for the AIV/Calibration phase of the instrument at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK. It is an optical simulator of the JWST Telescope, which will provide a diffractionlimited test beam, including the obscuration and mask pattern, in all the MIRI FOV and in all defocusing range. The MTS will have to stand an environment similar to the flight conditions (35K) but using a smaller set-up, typically at lab scales. The MTS will be used to verify MIRI instrument-level tests, based on checking the implementation/realisation of the interfaces and performances, as well as the instrument properties not subject to interface control such as overall transmission of various modes of operation. This paper includes a functional description and a summary of the development status.

Published: 13 July 2008
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter. Edited by Oschmann, J.M., Jr.; de Graauw, Mattheus W.M.; MacEwen, Howard A. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7010, pp. 701035-701035-12 (2008)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission is a collaborative project between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). JWST is considered the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and although its design and science objectives are quite different, JWST is expected to yield equivalently astonishing breakthroughs in infrared space science. Due to be launched in 2013 from the French Guiana, the JWST observatory will be placed in an orbit around the anti- Sun Earth-Sun Lagrangian point, L2, by an Ariane 5 launcher provided by ESA. The payload on board the JWST observatory consists of four main scientific instruments: a near-infrared camera (NIRCam), a mid-infrared camera/spectrograph (MIRI), a near-infrared tunable filter (TFI) and a near-infrared spectrograph (NIRSpec). The instrument suite is completed by a Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS). NIRSpec is a multi-object spectrograph capable of measuring the spectra of about 100 objects simultaneously at low (R~100), medium (R~1000) and high (R~2700) resolutions over the wavelength range between 0.6 micron and 5.0 micron. It features also a classical fix-slits spectroscopy mode as well as a 3D-spectrography mode with spectral resolutions up to 2700. The availability of extensive and accurate calibration data of the NIRSpec instrument is a key element to ensure that the nominal performance of the instrument will be achieved and that high-quality processed data will be made available to the users. In this context, an on-ground calibration is planned at instrument level that will supplement the later in-flight calibration campaign.
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Published: 13 July 2008
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter. Edited by Oschmann, Jacobus M., Jr.; de Graauw, Mattheus W.M.; MacEwen, Howard A. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7010, pp. 70103D-70103D-10 (2008)

Microshutter arrays are one of the novel technologies developed for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). It will allow Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIRSpec) to acquire spectra of hundreds of objects simultaneously therefore increasing its efficiency tremendously. We have developed these programmable arrays that are based on Micro-Electro Mechanical Structures (MEMS) technology. The arrays are 2D addressable masks that can operate in cryogenic environment of JWST. Since the primary JWST science requires acquisition of spectra of extremely faint objects, it is important to provide very high contrast of the open to closed shutters. This high contrast is necessary to eliminate any possible contamination and confusion in the acquired spectra by unwanted objects. We have developed and built a test system for the microshutter array functional and optical characterization. This system is capable of measuring the contrast of the mciroshutter array both in visible and infrared light of the NIRSpec wavelength range while the arrays are in their working cryogenic environment. We have measured contrast ratio of several microshutter arrays and demonstrated that they satisfy and in many cases far exceed the NIRSpec contrast requirement value of 2000.

Published: 13 July 2008
In "Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter", edited by Jacobus M. Oschmann, Jr., Mattheus W. M. de Graauw, Howard A. MacEwen, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7010, 70100T, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.790101

MIRI is the mid-IR instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope and provides imaging, coronography and integral field spectroscopy over the 5-28 micron wavelength range. MIRI is the only instrument which is cooled to 7K by a dedicated cooler, much lower than the passively cooled 40K of the rest of JWST, which introduces unique challenges. The paper will describe the key features of the overall instrument design. The flight model design of the MIRI Optical System is completed, with hardware now in manufacture across Europe and the USA, while the MIRI Cooler System is at PDR level development. A brief description of how the different development stages of the optical and cooling systems are accommodated is provided, but the paper largely describes progress with the MIRI Optical System. We report the current status of the development and provide an overview of the results from the qualification and test programme.

Published: 13 July 2009
In "Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter", edited by Jacobus M. Oschmann, Jr., Mattheus W. M. de Graauw, Howard A. MacEwen, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7010, 70103A, (2008), doi: 10.1117/12.789460

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is one of the three scientific instruments to fly on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is due for launch in 2013. MIRI contains two sub-instruments, an imager, which has low resolution spectroscopy and coronagraphic capabilities in addition to imaging, and a medium resolution IFU spectrometer. A verification model of MIRI was assembled in 2007 and a cold test campaign was conducted between November 2007 and February 2008. This model was the first scientifically representative model, allowing a first assessment to be made of the performance. This paper describes the test facility and testing done. It also reports on the first results from this test campaign.

Published: 13 July 2008
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