Abstract

A mechanically ruled aberration-corrected concave grating was developed for use in the low-resolution mid-infrared spectrometer aboard the cryogenically cooled Infrared Telescope in Space. The design and the performance testing of the grating are reported. The spectrometer requires a wide spectral range (4.5−11.7 μm) and a wide field of view (8 × 8 arcmin) with a low wavelength resolution (Δλ ≤ 0.3 μm). The aberration-corrected concave grating provides a flat focal plane with a small aberration in the spatial direction compared with those caused by the finite size of the entrance slit. It also permits a simple design for the spectrometer, which is advantageous for applications in space cryogenic instruments. The measurements of the wavelength resolution and the spatial resolution are shown to be in good agreement with the predicted performance. The diffraction efficiency of the grating is more than 80% at the blaze wavelength (6 μm) and fairly high (>30%) over the entire wavelength range in question. The grating produces polarization of less than 10% for λ < 6.4 μm and of 10–20% for 6.7 μm < λ < 9.7 μm. These results indicate the potential applicability of this type of grating to the wide-field IR spectroscopic observations.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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