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Design and development of fibre-optic test facility

Project: 
We seek applicants to undertake a one-year Masters project on co-leading the design and construction of a fibre-optic test facility for next-generation, high-performance astronomical instruments for the Southern African Large Telescope and other telescopes at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland. The fibre-optic test facility will be a bench-top optical laboratory instrument assembled and used in Cape Town to evaluate a two-dimensional fibre array (integral field unit, or IFU) built for the Southern African Large Telescope prime-focus spectrograph. Project scope: The Masters project will include high-level design and layout of the fibre-optic test facility; co-mentoring the honors/bursary student in custom-design of lens and fibre optical mounts and motion stages; co-mentoring the honors/bursary student in the integration and alignment of commercial and custom-designed mounts and stages into the fibre-optic test facility; and developing the commercial CCD/CMOS hardware and software interface. As time and funding permits, the project may include the design of micro-prism mounts and alignment jigs for the slit-mask IFU, and travel to the University of Wisconsin where an earlier-generation fibre-optic test facility exists. The student will work with Prof M Bershady (SAAO SARChI), his research team of observers and instrumentalists (including a bursary student working on the same project, and Ph.D. student leading the development of the slit-mask IFU), members of the SAAO Machine Shop, as well as other members of the SAAO technical staff. The successful applicant will define the scope of their program in consultation with Bershady based on their expertise, interests and career goals, and the needs of the project.
Node This Project Is Offered On: 
(UCT)

Supervisor

Matthew
Bershady

Co-Supervisor

Requirements for students to address: 
Applicants need not have a background in astronomical instrumentation or fibre optics; basic knowledge of astronomy and geometric optics is preferred.
Research Area: 
General Astrophysical Sciences


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