Laboratory for Experimental Infrared Astronomy

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Develops new instruments and techniques used to conduct astronomical observations with both ground and space-based telescopes.

Areas of expertise

The Laboratory for Experimental Infrared Astronomy's main expertise is the development of frontier astronomical instruments, especially spectrographs in the near-infrared waveband and related techniques, for some of the world’s most powerful telescopes, such as a Keck Observatory telescope, the Thirty Meter Telescope and the future (NASA) WFIRST space mission. New data gathered with these new instruments helps extend our understanding of the Universe in an unprecedented way. This requires in-house infrastructure and expertise, including designing, manufacturing, assembly and integration of the instruments, which are normally followed by their commission with telescopes to conduct astronomical observations and scientific analyses. The lab is equipped with test devices and the infrastructure needed to carry out such instrument development, including: (1) a suite of professional design software (e.g., Zemax for optical design) for designing instruments; (2) optical benches and test components for optical alignment and performance tests; (3) various electrical test equipment and components; (4) a clean room, laminar flow benches and a fume hood; (5) a crane system, etc. We have the expertise, infrastructure and experience to develop highly-competitive, cutting-edge astronomical instruments.  

Research services

Development of astronomical instruments, focused on near-infrared spectrographs and related techniques, design of optical, mechanical, electrical and cryogenic systems for astronomical instruments, as well as software development for data reduction and hardware control, detector characterization and testing, manufacture, assembly and integration, alignment, and test of astronomical instruments, commissioning and telescopic observations using newly-developed instruments and conducting scientific interpretation and analyses of the data taken with the instruments

Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Education
  • Manufacturing and processing
Equipment Function
Wide Integral-Field Infrared Spectrograph Newly developed spectrograph for conducting astronomical observations.
Polarization grating spectrometer Newly developed spectrograph for testing the performance of polarization gratings.