Abstract

We derive an analytic expression for the instrument profile of a slit spectrograph, also known as the line spread function. While this problem is not new, our treatment relies on the operatorial approach to the description of diffractive optical systems, which provides a general framework for the analysis of the performance of slit spectrographs under different illumination conditions. Based on our results, we propose an approximation to the spectral resolution of slit spectrographs, taking into account diffraction effects and sampling by the detector, which improves upon the often adopted approximation based on the root-sum-square of the individual contributions from the slit, the grating, and the detector pixel.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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