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The Robotic Multiobject Focal Plane System of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI)

Silber, Joseph Harry; Fagrelius, Parker; Fanning, Kevin; Schubnell, Michael; Aguilar, Jessica Nicole; Ahlen, Steven; Ameel, Jon; Ballester, Otger; Baltay, Charles; Bebek, Chris; Beard, Dominic Benton; Besuner, Robert; Cardiel-Sas, Laia; Casas, Ricard; Castander, Francisco Javier; Claybaugh, Todd; Dobson, Carl; Duan, Yutong; Dunlop, Patrick; Edelstein, Jerry; Emmet, William T.; Elliott, Ann; Evatt, Matthew; Gershkovich, Irena; Guy, Julien; Harris, Stu; Heetderks, Henry; Heetderks, Ian; Honscheid, Klaus; Illa, Jose Maria; Jelinsky, Patrick; Jelinsky, Sharon R.; Jimenez, Jorge; Karcher, Armin; Kent, Stephen; Kirkby, David; Kneib, Jean-Paul; Lambert, Andrew; Lampton, Mike; Leitner, Daniela; Levi, Michael; McCauley, Jeremy; Meisner, Aaron; Miller, Timothy N.; Miquel, Ramon; Mundet, Juliá; Poppett, Claire; Rabinowitz, David; Reil, Kevin; Roman, David; Schlegel, David; Serrano, Santiago; Van Shourt, William; Sprayberry, David; Tarlé, Gregory; Sien Tie, Suk; Weaverdyck, Curtis; Zhang, Kai; Azz...

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Joseph Harry Silber

Parker Fagrelius

Kevin Fanning

Michael Schubnell

Jessica Nicole Aguilar

Steven Ahlen

Jon Ameel

Otger Ballester

Charles Baltay

Chris Bebek

Dominic Benton Beard

Robert Besuner

Laia Cardiel-Sas

Ricard Casas

Francisco Javier Castander

Todd Claybaugh

Carl Dobson

Yutong Duan

Patrick Dunlop

Jerry Edelstein

William T. Emmet

Ann Elliott

Matthew Evatt

Irena Gershkovich

Julien Guy

Stu Harris

Henry Heetderks

Ian Heetderks

Klaus Honscheid

Jose Maria Illa

Patrick Jelinsky

Sharon R. Jelinsky

Jorge Jimenez

Armin Karcher

Stephen Kent

David Kirkby

Jean-Paul Kneib

Andrew Lambert

Mike Lampton

Daniela Leitner

Michael Levi

Jeremy McCauley

Aaron Meisner

Timothy N. Miller

Ramon Miquel

Juliá Mundet

Claire Poppett

David Rabinowitz

Kevin Reil

David Roman

David Schlegel

Santiago Serrano

William Van Shourt

David Sprayberry

Gregory Tarlé

Suk Sien Tie

Curtis Weaverdyck

Kai Zhang

Marco Azzaro

Stephen Bailey

Santiago Becerril

Tami Blackwell

Mohamed Bouri

David Brooks

Elizabeth Buckley-Geer

Jose Peñate Castro

Mark Derwent

Arjun Dey

Govinda Dhungana

Peter Doel

Daniel J. Eisenstein

Nasib Fahim

Juan Garcia-Bellido

Enrique Gaztañaga

Satya Gontcho A Gontcho

Gaston Gutierrez

Philipp Hörler

Robert Kehoe

Theodore Kisner

Anthony Kremin

Luzius Kronig

Martin Landriau

Laurent Le Guillou

Paul Martini

John Moustakas

Nathalie Palanque-Delabrouille

Xiyan Peng

Will Percival

Francisco Prada

Carlos Allende Prieto

Guillermo Gonzalez de Rivera

Eusebio Sanchez

Justo Sanchez

Marcelle Soares-Santos

Edward Schlafly

Benjamin Alan Weaver

Zhimin Zhou

Yaling Zhu

Hu Zou


A system of 5,020 robotic fiber positioners was installed in 2019 on the Mayall Telescope, at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The robots automatically re-target their optical fibers every 10 - 20 minutes, each to a precision of several microns, with a reconfiguration time less than 2 minutes. Over the next five years, they will enable the newly-constructed Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) to measure the spectra of 35 million galaxies and quasars. DESI will produce the largest 3D map of the universe to date and measure the expansion history of the cosmos. In addition to the 5,020 robotic positioners and optical fibers, DESI's Focal Plane System includes 6 guide cameras, 4 wavefront cameras, 123 fiducial point sources, and a metrology camera mounted at the primary mirror. The system also includes associated structural, thermal, and electrical systems. In all, it contains over 675,000 individual parts. We discuss the design, construction, quality control, and integration of all these components. We include a summary of the key requirements, the review and acceptance process, on-sky validations of requirements, and lessons learned for future multi-object, fiber-fed spectrographs.


Silber, J. H., Fagrelius, P., Fanning, K., Schubnell, M., Aguilar, J. N., Ahlen, S., …Zou, H. (2023). The Robotic Multiobject Focal Plane System of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). Astronomical Journal, 165(1), Article 9.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 4, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 7, 2022
Publication Date 2023-01
Deposit Date Oct 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 13, 2023
Journal Astronomical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-6256
Electronic ISSN 1538-3881
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 165
Issue 1
Article Number 9
Related Public URLs


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Copyright Statement
Original content from this work may be used under the terms<br /> of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further<br /> distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title<br /> of the work, journal citation and DOI.

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