The MaNGA integral field unit fiber feed system for the Sloan 2.5 m telescope

N. Drory, N. MacDonald, M. A. Bershady, K. Bundy, J. Gunn, D. R. Law, M. Smith, R. Stoll, C. A. Tremonti, D. A. Wake, R. Yan, A. M. Weijmans, N. Byler, B. Cherinka, F. Cope, A. Eigenbrot, P. Harding, D. Holder, J. Huehnerhoff, K. JaehnigT. C. Jansen, M. Klaene, A. M. Paat, J. Percival, C. Sayres

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We describe the design, manufacture, and performance of bare-fiber integral field units (IFUs) for the SDSS-IV survey Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) on the the Sloan 2.5 m telescope at Apache Point Observatory. MaNGA is a luminosity-selected integral-field spectroscopic survey of 104 local galaxies covering 360–1030 nm at R~2200. The IFUs have hexagonal dense packing of fibers with packing regularity of 3 μm (rms), and throughput of 96 ± 0.5% from 350 nm to 1 μm in the lab. Their sizes range from 19 to 127 fibers (3–7 hexagonal layers) using Polymicro FBP 120:132:150 μm core:clad:buffer fibers to reach a fill fraction of 56%. High throughput (and low focal-ratio degradation (FRD)) is achieved by maintaining the fiber cladding and buffer intact, ensuring excellent surface polish, and applying a multi-layer anti-reflection (AR) coating of the input and output surfaces. In operations on-sky, the IFUs show only an additional 2.3% FRD-related variability in throughput despite repeated mechanical stressing during plate plugging (however other losses are present). The IFUs achieve on-sky throughput 5% above the single-fiber feeds used in SDSS-III/BOSS, attributable to equivalent performance compared to single fibers and additional gains from the AR coating. The manufacturing process is geared toward mass-production of high-multiplex systems. The low-stress process involves a precision ferrule with a hexagonal inner shape designed to lead inserted fibers to settle in a dense hexagonal pattern. The ferrule ID is tapered at progressively shallower angles toward its tip and the final 2 mm are straight and only a few microns larger than necessary to hold the desired number of fibers. Our IFU manufacturing process scales easily to accommodate other fiber sizes and can produce IFUs with substantially larger fiber counts. To assure quality, automated testing in a simple and inexpensive system enables complete characterization of throughput and fiber metrology. Future applications include larger IFUs, higher fill factors with stripped buffer, de-cladding, and lenslet coupling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Astrophysics
  • Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics


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