This funding aims to strengthen the IAC participation in the HARMONI instrument for the ELT by developing prototypes and functional models for the control electronic (ICE) and for mechanisms of the pre-optics (IPO) whilst improving the IAC capacities for testing IR instrumentation for large telescopes.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is building a 39-meter telescope segmented and adaptive, the ELT. It will significantly improve our knowledge in most branches of Astrophysics; hence, the scientific community widely supports it. The ELT program (including instruments) represents a major opportunity for Spanish hi-tech industry in a broad range of technological and engineering areas. The High Angular Resolution Monolithic Optical and Near-infrared Integral field spectrograph (HARMONI) is an instrument for the ELT. The University of Oxford leads the international consortium developing HARMONI, including also the UK-ATC-Edinburgh, Durham University, the CRAL-Lyon, LAM-Marsella, IAC-Tenerife, CAB-Madrid, and the University of Michigan. The Spanish participation currently represents about 20% of the HARMONI development, the IAC contributing with 12.87%.
Each institution in the HARMONI consortium commits to developing specific technical and engineering Working Packages (WP). In particular, the IAC is responsible for the Pre-optics subsystem (WP-23, IPO) and the Instrument Control (WP-28, ICE). In addition, we also partake in the development of Instrument Engineering (WP-02), Science/Operations (WP-03), H-LTAO (WP-40), Instrument AIV+Commissioning (WP-04), Guarantee/Support (WP-05), and High Contrast Study (WP-41), actively contributing to the HARMONI Science Team in preparation for the scientific exploitation for the HARMONI guarantee time.
This funding will allow the IAC to enhance its capacities and resources to comply with its technical commitments on the HARMONI consortium during the manufacturing, assembly, integration, and tests phase at the subsystems level (the MAIT-SSL phase). During this phase, the electro-opto-mechanical designs will convert into reality. The versatility of HARMONI imposes strong constraints that are reachable in designs but complex to transfer into reality; for some modules, the manufacturing within requirements may be questionable; for some optical elements, the proper alignment may be critical. The strategies to overcome many of these difficulties are: (1) to develop prototypes of critical elements to solve the problems and feed the designs with the know-how acquired, and (2) to fabricate distinct modules of the design and validate their requirements and tolerances individually. The MAIT-SSL period at the IAC will start with the manufacturing, assembly, integrating, and testing of some prototypes of identified critical mechanisms of the IPO. We will develop specific alignment prototypes to essay the precise alignment of critical optical components. We will also produce models of the distinct opto-mechanical mounts and modules that will integrate the IPO and the ICE to verify their manufacture, alignments, and requirements. Moreover, this phase requires completing the detailed electronic design of the whole instrument, which requires intense effort in the documentation. In addition, the IAC team in HARMONI will also work on conditioning the IAC rooms and equipment to carry out the AIV of large systems as the IPO for ambient and cryogenic tests (Facilities and Equipment, F&E).