The NOVA Fringe Tracker: a second generation cophasing facility for up to six telescopes at the VLTI
- Jeffrey A. Meisnera, Walter J. Jaffea, Rudolf S. Le Pooleab
In a few years, the second generation instruments of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) will routinely provide observations with 4 to 6 telescopes simultaneously. To reach their ultimate performance, they will need a fringe sensor capable to measure in real time the randomly varying optical paths differences. A collaboration between LAOG (PI institute), IAGL, OCA and GIPSA-Lab has proposed the Planar Optics Phase Sensor concept to ESO for the 2 Generation Fringe Tracker. This concept is based on the integrated optics technologies, enabling the conception of extremely compact interferometric instruments naturally providing single-mode spatial filtering. It allows operations with 4 and 6 telescopes by measuring the fringes position thanks to a spectrally dispersed ABCD method. We present here the main analysis which led to the current concept as well as the expected on-sky performance and the proposed design.