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Enabling the next generation of scientific discoveries by embracing photonic technologies

Jovanovic, Nemanja and Beichman, Charles and Dekany, Richard and Hover, David and Howard, Andrew W. and Mawet, Dimitri and Pezzato, Jacklyn and Porter, Michael D. and Wang, Jason (2019) Enabling the next generation of scientific discoveries by embracing photonic technologies. Astro2020 Science White Paper, . (Unpublished)

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The fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics are technology limited, where the advent and application of new technologies to astronomy usher in a flood of discoveries altering our understanding of the Universe (e.g., recent cases include LIGO and the GRAVITY instrument at the VLTI). Currently, the field of astronomical spectroscopy is rapidly approaching an impasse: the size and cost of instruments, especially multi-object and integral field spectrographs for extremely large telescopes (ELTs), are pushing the limits of what is feasible, requiring optical components at the very edge of achievable size and performance. For these reasons, astronomers are increasingly looking for innovative solutions like photonic technologies that promote instrument miniaturization and simplification, while providing superior performance. Astronomers have long been aware of the potential of photonic technologies. The goal of this white paper is to draw attention to key photonic technologies and developments over the past two decades and demonstrate there is new momentum in this arena. We outline where the most critical efforts should be focused over the coming decade in order to move towards realizing a fully photonic instrument. A relatively small investment in this technology will advance astronomical photonics to a level where it can reliably be used to solve challenging instrument design limitations. For the benefit of both ground and space borne instruments alike, an endorsement from the National Academy of Sciences decadal survey will ensure that such solutions are set on a path to their full scientific exploitation, which may one day address a broad range of science cases outlined in the KSPs.

Item Type:Report or Paper (White Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Jovanovic, Nemanja0000-0001-5213-6207
Beichman, Charles0000-0002-5627-5471
Dekany, Richard0000-0002-5884-7867
Howard, Andrew W.0000-0001-8638-0320
Mawet, Dimitri0000-0002-8895-4735
Wang, Jason0000-0003-0774-6502
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Astronomy Department
Series Name:Astro2020 Science White Paper
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190722-082241649
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97306
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Jul 2019 16:23
Last Modified:02 Jun 2023 00:58

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