Becerril, S.;Mirabet, E.;Lizon, J. L.;Calvo, R.;Abril, M.;Cárdenas, C.;Ferro, I.;Morales, R.;Pérez, D.;Ramón, A.;Sánchez-Carrasco, M. A.;Quirrenbach, A.;Amado, P.;Ribas, I.;Reiners, A.;Caballero, J. A.;Seifert, W.;Herranz, J. 2017. Performance and technical commissioning of an ultra-stable cooling system for a mid-range cryogenic astrophysical instrument (CARMENES-NIR). Advances in Cryogenic Engineering, IOP Conference Series-Materials Science and Engineering 278, DOI: 10.1088/1757-899X/278/1/012191
CARMENES is the new high-resolution high-stability spectrograph built for the 3.5m telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA, Almeria, Spain) by a consortium formed by German and Spanish institutions. This instrument is composed of two separate spectrographs, VIS channel (550-1050 nm) and NIR channel (900-1700 nm). The Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, IAA-CSIC was responsible for the NIR-channel spectrograph This was installed at the telescope by the end of 2015, technical commissioning and final tuning of the instrument being extended up to fall 2016. In that sense, one of the most challenging systems in the instrument involves the cooling system of the NIR channel. It is a key system within the stability budget and was entirely under the control of the IAA-CSIC. That development has been possible thanks to a very fruitful collaboration with ESO (Jean-Louis Lizon). The present work describes the performance of the CARMENES-NIR cooling system, mainly focusing on the extremely high thermal stability -on the order of few cK- around the working temperature (138K), as well as the main events and upgrades achieved during commissioning. As a result of its performance, CARMENES-NIR is a cornerstone within the field of astrophysical instrumentation and, in particular, related to discovery of earth-like exoplanets.