Traditionally there are two ways to obtain galaxy spectra with optical fibres: (a) 1000 fibres on 1000 galaxies (b) 1000 fibres on 1 galaxy. The former lacks spatial information, and the latter lacks sample sizes. This decade has seen the development of new instruments that go for the middle ground: 10 fibre bundles of 100 fibres each on 10 galaxies, providing spatial spectroscopy on large samples of near-by galaxies. I will present my involvement in the early leader of this new class of instruments, SAMI (Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral-field spectrograph), and how this new wealth of data is essential in the understanding of galaxy evolution research, focusing mainly on local galaxy star formation rates in this talk. I will also present other novel astrophotonic instrumentation that I commissioned during my time at USyd/AAO, and their interesting applications in astronomy.
SAMI and friends: advancements in multi-object integral-field spectroscopy and other novel astrophotonic developments