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Science Instruments

Instrument Capabilities Parameter Space

TMT science instrumentation capabilities in spectral and spatial resolution versus wavelength discovery space for first light instruments under development and future instruments currently being considered.

Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (IRIS)


IRIS is a first generation near-infrared (0.84-2.4 μm) instrument being designed to sample the diffraction limit of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). IRIS will include an integral field spectrograph (IFS) with R>4000 and imaging camera (34"x34" field of view with 0.004" pixel-1 sampling). Both the IFS and imager will take advantage of the high spatial resolution achieved with the Narrow-Field Infrared Adaptive Optics System (NFIRAOS). The IFS will provide four spatial scales (0.004", 0.009", 0.025", 0.05"). IRIS will achieve an angular resolution ten times better than images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and will be the highest angular resolution near-infrared instrument in the northern hemisphere and with equivalent pixel/spaxel scale to HARMONI and MICADO on the ELT. 

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IRIS Handbook (coming soon)

Current Status: Final Design Phase

Exposure Time Calculator


Wide-Field Optical Spectrometer (WFOS)

The Wide Field Optical Spectrometer (WFOS) is being developed as a first light instrument capability. WFOS will provide near-ultraviolet and optical spectroscopy over 0.31 – 1.0 μm (in two channels spanning 310 nm – 550 nm and 500 nm – 1000 nm) of many objects simultaneously (R~1500 – 3500 with 0.75” wide slits) over an 8.3x3 arcminute field-of-view with 0.05”/pixel sampling. Pre-made slit masks with >500 arc second total slit length can accommodate, for example, 58 targets (maximum) with 8” long slits and 0.5” gaps. Broad band imaging and observations of single objects are also planned modes. WFOS will be designed to operate in seeing limited conditions but also capitalize on GLAO, should a GLAO capability be developed for TMT in the future. Higher spectral resolution can be achieved using narrower slits.

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WFOS on Nasmyth Platform with incoming beam

Current Status: Preliminary Design Phase


Multi-Objective Diffraction-limited High-Resolution Infrared Spectrograph (MODHIS)


MODHIS is a diffraction-limited high-resolution infrared facility instrument for TMT-NFIRAOS. The concept features a very compact and stable, cost-effective spectrograph design built to fully exploit the existing NFIRAOS infrastructure and boost the scientific reach of TMT after first light. MODHIS is based on the latest diffraction-limited single-mode fiber injection, detector, multiplexing, and calibration (Laser Frequency Comb) technologies, and will provide unprecedented capabilities to the TMT community, potentially soon after the commissioning and science verification of NFIRAOS and IRIS, which it perfectly complements. MODHIS will take R ≃100,000 spectra from 0.95 to 2.4 μm simultaneously, of any object within a r=4” field of view sampled at the diffraction limit. As MODHIS is early in its design a goal exists to explore implementing a limited multi-object capability with a slightly larger field-of-regard

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(temporary) MODHIS layout

Current Status: Conceptual Design Phase
Exposure Time Calculator (coming soon)

Narrow Field InfraRed Adaptive Optics System (NFIRAOS)

The first light Adaptive Optics (AO) architecture for the TMT has been defined to provide near-diffraction-limited wavefront quality and high sky coverage in the near infra-red (IR) for the first TMT science instruments IRIS  and MODHIS. Design, fabrication and prototyping activities of the TMT first light AO systems and their components in Canada, China, France, and in the US are currently on schedule. 

Second Generation Instruments


The entire TMT observatory has been designed to support a wide range of different forms of facility class instrumentation. To do this, a suite of instrument concepts was developed and the observatory design was developed around them. These longstanding ideas for instruments have continued to evolve. Several instrument concepts are being actively developed and are evolving beyond the original ideas. Several new ideas have also arisen and may be developed further. The prioritization of needed instrument capabilities and the resulting strategy or sequence for instrument development is based on community explorations.

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