Single-mode fibers have been used in the near-infrared to dramatically reduce calibration error for long-baseline interferometry. We have begun an effort to apply the advantages of spatial filtering at visible wavelengths for precision measurements of pulsating Cepheids using the IOTA interferometer. Rather than employing photometric taps to calibrate fluctuating coupling efficiency, we are using an "asymmetric" coupler which allows this calibration to be done without losing photons. The Single-Mode Asymmetric Recombination Technique (SMART) experiment has finished lab-testing, and has been installed at IOTA for full commissioning in Summer 2002. We report the results of lab characterization and first sky tests, as well as first fringes on a star using a visible-wavelength single-mode coupler. With both lab and sky experience using unpolarized light, we have found that circular silica fibers are quite practical for precision interferometric measurements. We conclude that circular fibers (as opposed to polarization maintaining fibers) have an undeserved poor reputation and that birefringence effects pose no significant difficulty.
|Title of host publication||Interferometry for Optical Astronomy II|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Feb 2003|
|Name||Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series|