The optical design of the six-meter CCAT-prime and Simons Observatory telescopes

Stephen C. Parshley, Michael Niemack, Richard Hills, Simon R. Dicker, Rolando Dünner, Jens Erler, Patricio A. Gallardo, Jon E. Gudmundsson, Terry Herter, Brian J. Koopman, Michele Limon, Frederick T. Matsuda, Philip Mauskopf, Dominik A. Riechers, Gordon J. Stacey, Eve M. Vavagiakis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


A common optical design for a coma-corrected, 6-meter aperture, crossed-Dragone telescope has been adopted for the CCAT-prime telescope of CCAT Observatory, Inc., and for the Large Aperture Telescope of the Simons Observatory. Both are to be built in the high altitude Atacama Desert in Chile for submillimeter and millimeter wavelength observations, respectively. The design delivers a high throughput, relatively flat focal plane, with a field of view 7.8 degrees in diameter for 3 mm wavelengths, and the ability to illuminate >100k diffraction-limited beams for < 1 mm wavelengths. The optics consist of offset reflecting primary and secondary surfaces arranged in such a way as to satisfy the Mizuguchi-Dragone criterion, suppressing first-order astigmatism and maintaining high polarization purity. The surface shapes are perturbed from their standard conic forms in order to correct coma aberrations. We discuss the optical design, performance, and tolerancing sensitivity. More information about CCAT-prime can be found at and about Simons Observatory at

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VII
EditorsHeather K. Marshall, Jason Spyromilio
ISBN (Electronic)9781510619531
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VII 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: 10 Jun 201815 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VII 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements: CCAT-prime funding has been provided by Cornell University, the Fred M. Young Jr. Charitable Fund, the German Research Foundation (DFG) through grant number INST 216/733-1 FUGG, the Univ. of Cologne, the Univ. of Bonn, and the Canadian Atacama Telescope Consortium. Part of this work was supported by a grant from the Simons Foundation (Award #457687, B.K.). MDN acknowledges support from NSF award AST-1454881. RD thanks CONICYT for grants PIA Anillo ACT-1417 and QUIMAL 160009.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 SPIE.

Other keywords

  • coma correction
  • cross-Dragone
  • optical design
  • submillimeter
  • telescope optics


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