Full aperture testing of large cryogenic optical systems has been impractical due to the difficulty of operating a large collimator at cryogenic temperatures. The Thermal Sieve solves this problem by acting as a thermal barrier between an ambient temperature collimator and the cryogenic system under test. The Thermal Sieve uses a set of thermally controlled baffles with array of holes that are lined up to pass the light from the collimator without degrading the wavefront, while attenuating the thermal background by nearly 4 orders of magnitude. This paper provides the theory behind the Thermal Sieve system, evaluates the optimization for its optical and thermal performance, and presents the design and analysis for a specific system.
©2012 Optical Society of America
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