The German REceiver for Astronomy at Terahertz frequencies (GREAT) is a first generation PI instrument for the SOFIA telescope, developed by a collaboration between the MPIfR, KOSMA, DLR, and the MPAe. The first three institutes each contribute one heterodyne receiver channel to operate at 1.9, 2.7 and 4.7 THz, respectively. A later addition of a e.g. 1.4 THz channel is planned.
The GREAT instrument is developed to carry two cryostats at once. That means that any two of the three frequencies can be observed simultaneously. Therefore, we need to be able to quickly exchange the optics benches, the local oscillator (LO) subsystems, and the cryostats containing the mixer devices. This demands a high modularity and flexibility of our receiver concept. Our aim is to avoid the need for realignment when swapping receiver channels.
After an overview of the common GREAT optics, a detailed description of several parts (optics benches, calibration units, diplexer, focal plane imager) is given. Special emphasis is given to the LO optics of the KOSMA 1.9 THz channel, because its backward wave oscillator has an astigmatic output beam profile, which has to be corrected for. We developed astigmatic off-axis mirrors to compensate this astigmatism. The mirrors are manufactured in-house on a 5 axis CNC milling machine. We use this milling machine to obtain optical components with highest surface accuracy (about 5 microns) appropriate for these wavelengths. Based on the CNC machining capabilities we present our concept of integrated optics, which means to manufacture optical subsystems monolithically. The optics benches are located on three point mounts, which in conjunction with the integrated optics concept ensure the required adjustment free optics setup.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.