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Calibration and testing of wide-field UV instruments

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Abstract

As with all optical systems the calibration of wide-field ultraviolet (UV) systems includes three main areas: sensitivity, imaging quality, and imaging capability. The one thing that makes UV calibrations difficult is the need for working in vacuum substantially extending the required time and effort compared to visible systems. In theory a ray tracing and characterization of each individual component of the optical system (mirrors, windows, and grating) should provide the transmission efficiency of the combined system. However, potentially unknown effects (contamination, misalignment, and measurement errors) can make the final error too large and unacceptable for most applications. Therefore, it is desirable to test and measure the optical properties of the whole system in vacuum and compare the overall response to the response of a calibrated photon detector. A proper comparison then allows the quantification of individual sources of uncertainty and ensures that the whole instrument performance is within acceptable tolerances or pinpoints which parts fail to meet requirements. Based on the experience with the IMAGE Spectrographic Imager, the Wide-band Imaging Camera, and the ICON Far Ultraviolet instruments, we discuss the steps and procedures for the proper radiometric sensitivity and passband calibration, spot size, imaging distortions, flatfield, and field of view determination.

Plain Language Summary

As with all optical systems the calibration of wide-field ultraviolet (UV) systems includes three main areas: sensitivity, imaging quality, and imaging capability. The one thing that makes UV calibrations difficult is the need for working in vacuum substantially extending the required time and effort compared to visible systems. Based on the experience with the IMAGE Spectrographic Imager, the Wide-band Imaging Camera (WIC), and the ICON Far Ultraviolet instruments, we discuss the steps and procedures for the proper radiometric sensitivity and pass-band calibration, spot size, imaging distortions, flatfield, and field of view determination.

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