||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Spectrometer. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2012.|
A spectrograph is an instrument that separates an incoming wave into a frequency spectrum. There are several kinds of machines referred to as spectrographs, depending on the precise nature of the waves. The term was first used in 1884.
Stellar & solar spectrograph
The first spectrographs used photographic paper as the detector. The star spectral classification and discovery of the main sequence, Hubble's law and the Hubble sequence were all made with spectrographs that used photographic paper. The plant pigment phytochrome was discovered using a spectrograph that used living plants as the detector. More recent spectrographs use electronic detectors, such as CCDs which can be used for both visible and UV light. The exact choice of detector depends on the wavelengths of light to be recorded.
The forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope will contain both a near-infrared spectrograph (NIRSpec) and a mid-infrared spectrometer (MIRI).
An echelle spectrograph uses two diffraction gratings, rotated 90 degrees with respect to each other and placed close to one another. Therefore an entrance point and not a slit is used and a 2d CCD-chip records the spectrum. Usually one would guess to retrieve a spectrum on the diagonal, but when both gratings have a wide spacing and one is blazed so that only the first order is visible and the other is blazed that a lot of higher orders are visible, one gets a very fine spectrum nicely folded onto a small common CCD-chip. The small chip also means that the collimating optics need not to be optimized for coma or astigmatism, but the spherical aberration can be set to zero.
- "Powerful New VLT Instrument Arrives in Chile". ESO Announcement. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- James, John (2007), Spectrograph Design Fundamentals (Cambridge University Press) ISBN 0-521-86463-1
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