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First stellar photons for an integrated optics discrete beam combiner at the William Herschel Telescope

Nayak, Abani Shankar and Labadie, Lucas and Sharma, Tarun Kumar and Piacentini, Simone and Corrielli, Giacomo and Osellame, Roberto and Gendron, Éric and Buey, Jean-Tristan M. and Chemla, Fanny and Cohen, Mathieu and Bharmal, Nazim A. and Bardou, Lisa F. and Staykov, Lazar and Osborn, James and Morris, Timothy J. and Pedretti, Ettore and Dinkelaker, Aline N. and Madhav, Kalaga V. and Roth, Martin M. (2021) 'First stellar photons for an integrated optics discrete beam combiner at the William Herschel Telescope.', Applied optics., 60 (19). D129-D142.


We present the first on-sky results of a four-telescope integrated optics discrete beam combiner (DBC) tested at the 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope. The device consists of a four-input pupil remapper followed by a DBC and a 23-output reformatter. The whole device was written monolithically in a single alumino-borosilicate substrate using ultrafast laser inscription. The device was operated at astronomical H-band (1.6 µm), and a deformable mirror along with a microlens array was used to inject stellar photons into the device. We report the measured visibility amplitudes and closure phases obtained on Vega and Altair that are retrieved using the calibrated transfer matrix of the device. While the coherence function can be reconstructed, the on-sky results show significant dispersion from the expected values. Based on the analysis of comparable simulations, we find that such dispersion is largely caused by the limited signal-to-noise ratio of our observations. This constitutes a first step toward an improved validation of the DBC as a possible beam combination scheme for long-baseline interferometry.

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Publisher statement:Published by The Optical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.
Date accepted:13 June 2021
Date deposited:20 January 2022
Date of first online publication:14 June 2021
Date first made open access:20 January 2022

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