Next Generation Ellipsoidal Mirrors for X-Ray Diffraction

Optical Surfaces Ltd. is offering high-precision ellipsoidal mirrors that offer unmatched pinpoint focusing for high resolution spectroscopy in the soft and hard X-ray regions.

Ellipsoidal Mirrors

Ellipsoidal mirror for an XRD application

Drawing upon skilled craftsmen working in a uniquely stable production environment, Optical Surfaces is able to produce ultra-smooth ellipsoidal mirrors able to deliver an X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) spot that exactly matches your spectrometer detector resolution. As a consequence, the resolution and angular range of XRD measurements can simultaneously be improved. In addition, the pinpoint focusing provided by the ellipsoidal mirrors increases X-ray flux density, resulting in better contrast.

With workshops and test facilities deep underground where temperatures remain constant and vibration is practically non-existent, Optical Surfaces routinely produces ellipsoidal mirrors in a range of materials (Zerodur, BK7, fused silica) with typical surface accuracy of better than lambda/10 (dependent on size and radius) and surface quality of 20:10 scratch dig.

Optical Surfaces can produce ellipsoidal mirrors in a range of shapes (largest dimension up to 400mm) that offer high performance and durable optical coatings that provide excellent image quality.

For further information on high precision ellipsoidal mirrors for X-Ray Diffraction please visit https://www.optisurf.com/index.php/products/conic-sections/ellipsoids/ or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com

Improving Alignment & Testing of Earth Observation Satellites

High precision mounted reference mirrors

High precision mounted reference mirrors.

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has received an order from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) for two high precision reference mirrors to accelerate the precise alignment and testing of their Earth Observation Satellite Telescopes.

Based in Guildford, UK, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) manufacture and operate small to medium sized satellites, covering a range of use cases, from telecoms to Earth observation. Earth observation (EO) satellites are a core product for SSTL and each EO satellite undergo a rigorous process of testing and verification before and after launch. As SSTL’s business has grown it required additional high precision reference mirrors to enable testing of its telescope optical systems in parallel.

Dr Aris Kouris, Sales Director at Optical Surfaces Ltd said “We are pleased to have been entrusted once again by SSTL to deliver two demanding mounted reference flat mirrors for the purposes of verifying the wavefront performance of their EO telescopes during their assembly and as an alignment aid. The clear aperture of these mirrors was 300mm in diameter with a central hole of 100mm in diameter and the achieved surface accuracy was nearly L/15 P-V at 633nm. This target was particularly challenging since the mounted mirrors had to be tested in a ‘non-standard’ vertical orientation. Ensuring that the Lambda/15 p-v target was a true representation of the mirror required extensive testing and consequent adjustments in both, the testing as well as mounting strategy. During these tests all, possible sources of error were isolated, analysed and accounted for to confirm in a positive manner that the high specifications of the mounted mirrors supplied to SSTL were what we claimed them to be. Potential sources of error during the testing included intrinsic errors in our reference flat, mounting distortions on our reference flat and the UUT but also gravity effects on both the reference flat and the UUT. All these errors had to be disentangled and considered during the manufacturing process and we feel that we have done this in the best possible and most reliable way”. Dr Kouris added ” I can definitely say that we are extremely pleased with the outcome and being able to assist SSTL with their challenging alignment and testing requirements.”

An Earth Observation satellite being constructed

An Earth Observation satellite being constructed (courtesy: SSTL.)

Dr Robin Cole, Optical Systems Engineer at SSTL, commented “There are very few suppliers who can produce such large optics with the specifications we required. We had an additional requirement for a custom mounting configuration, for which Optical Surfaces Ltd. were able to propose and deliver a suitable design. We have worked with Optical Surfaces Ltd. on previous projects and have high confidence in their ability to deliver high specification optics on time and at a competitive price. From start to finish Optical Surfaces Ltd. operate a highly efficient and professional service, always engaging with enthusiasm and drawing on decades of experience to provide robust and innovative optical solutions”.

For further information about Earth Observation Satellite design and development at SSTL please visit https://www.sstl.co.uk/.

For further information on challenging optical systems for space research please visit https://www.optisurf.com/index.php/products/flats-and-windows/flats/ or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com

Beam Collimators for MTF Optical Testing

Beam CollimatorsOptical Surfaces Ltd is a leading supplier of Beam Collimators tailored to enable precise Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) testing of your optical systems.

MTF is a trusted technique for objectively evaluating the image-forming capability of optical systems. Reflective beam collimators are mirror assemblies that take divergent or convergent incoming light rays and produce parallel light output. They can be used to replicate a target at infinity without parallax. As a consequence, reflective beam collimators are the device of choice for performing polychromatic MTF measurements over extended wavelength ranges.

The high stability and performance of Optical Surfaces reflective beam collimators is achieved using a zero expansion off-axis parabolic mirror, manufactured to better than lambda/10 p-v surface accuracy. The optics within the beam collimator, are secured by the use of stress-free mounts and come pre-aligned for optimum performance. The off-axis design of Optical Surfaces beam collimators produces no central obscuration thereby ensuring highly efficient transmission is obtained.

The all-reflecting design of Optical Surfaces beam collimators is achromatic and with aluminium / magnesium fluoride coatings can operate from the UV to the infrared without adjustment. Using zero expansion glass mirror substrates these beam collimators provide exceptional operational stability. Each system has an output port datum plane giving a defined distance to the focus. All Optical Surfaces beam collimators provide a 20mm field ensuring full compatibility with standard black bodies.

A wide choice of options enables Optical Surfaces beam collimators to be tailored to exactly suit your MTF optical testing requirements. For further information on reflective beam collimators for MTF optical testing please visit www.optisurf.com/index.php/products/reflective-collimators/ or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Challenging Aspheric Lenses for Nuclear Research

Optical Surfaces Ltd announces that it has received an order from the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) for twelve ultra-fast focusing 370mm diameter aspheric lenses for its Orion petawatt laser research facility.

World-class expertise and cutting-edge science, engineering and technology lie at the heart of AWE work, spanning the life cycle of nuclear warheads from initial concept and design, to final decommissioning and disposal.

Challenging Aspheric Lenses for Nuclear Research

Image curtesy of AWE

The Orion laser facility is used to conduct research into high energy density physics phenomena, which occur at the heart of a nuclear explosion or the interior of a star. Orion is used to generate matter many times denser than solid, similar to that found at the centre of a giant planet such as Jupiter. At temperatures in excess of 10 million degrees, Orion can replicate conditions found at the centre of the Sun. These phenomena cannot be found anywhere else on planet Earth.

The order is a repeat order for the key focusing elements supplied by Optical Surfaces Ltd to AWE in 2008. Replacement of the original lenses is required as coatings and lens material gets damaged over time due to very high energy density of the Orion laser.

Dr Aris Kouris, Sales director at Optical Surfaces Ltd commented “We are very pleased to again be selected by AWE to supply the replacement fast focusing aspheric lenses that lie at the heart of their Orion petawatt laser facility”. He added “The greatest challenge in producing these ultra-smooth optics relates mostly with the high asphericity of the lenses, arising from the short focal length required. The short focal length not only enables AWE to use a relatively compact vacuum chamber for its experiments but also to achieve a very high energy density at the point of focus. This high asphericity also imposes an additional difficulty in controlling the demanding requirements associated with the lens wavefront gradients specification.

For further information about the Orion petawatt laser facility at AWE please visit http://awe.co.uk/what-we-do/science-engineering-technology/orion-laser-facility/

For further information on aspheric lenses for high energy laser research please visit https://www.optisurf.com/index.php/products/aspheric-lenses/ or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com

Athermalised Beam Expanders for Challenging Applications

For beam focusing applications in environments subject to wide temperature variation, Optical Surfaces Ltd. is able to produce athermalised beam expanders that deliver stable high performance.

Beam ExpandersOptical Surfaces athermalised beam expanders are based upon a Dall-Kirkham off-axis mirror design that incorporates INVAR elements to provide thermal stabilisation. In addition, to better control thermal behaviour, the off-axis mirrors in the athermalised beam expanders have a short focal length resulting in a very robust assembly which is less sensitive to temperature changes. As a result, high optical performance is maintained over a wide range of temperature (-40° C to +50° C).

Benefiting from an off-axis design, Optical Surfaces athermalised beam expanders provide an unobstructed output and highly efficient transmission. The reflective design of these beam expanders is achromatic and with aluminium coatings can operate from UV to far IR without adjustment or internal realignment. Each athermalised beam expander is housed in an aluminium housing with provision for fixing to an optical table. Alignment aids are provided to ensure correct beam pointing. Standard beam expanders have fixed magnification. Variable magnification beam expanders can be supplied with interchangeable primary mirrors. An interferogram and OPD map is supplied with every athermalised beam expander manufactured by Optical Surfaces.

For further information on athermalised beam expanders please visit click here or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Off-Axis Paraboloids Enhance Laser Power Density

Optical Surfaces Ltd. reports on increased demand from high power laser research groups around the world for off-axis paraboloid mirrors to be used as the primary focusing element for their Petawatt laser beam lines.

Enhance Laser Power Density

Off-axis paraboloids offer the advantage of an unobstructed aperture and access to the focal plane. In addition, due to their completely achromatic performance, they are especially suitable for broadband or multiple wavelength applications.

Using proprietary production techniques, and benefiting from a uniquely stable manufacturing environment, Optical Surfaces highly experienced and skilled engineering team are able to produce fast focusing off-axis parabolic mirrors with unmatched surface accuracy, surface quality and surface slope errors.

Dr Aris Kouris of Optical Surfaces Ltd commented “Few companies in the world are able to produce off-axis paraboloids of sufficient quality to enable Petawatt lasers to focus their massive energy down onto targets only a few microns in size. Laser-plasma interactions under these conditions can produce energetic beams of electrons and protons as well as bright, coherent sources of X-rays enabling researchers to address fundamental questions in astrophysics and plasma physics”.

Mounted Off-Axis Mirrors for Intense Laser Interaction Studies

He added “In recent years we are honoured to have been selected by world leading high power laser research groups including AWE, ELI, LULI and CLF Rutherford as well as a growing number of academic centres of excellence to provide key off-axis focusing mirrors and other related optics”.

For further information on off-axis paraboloid mirrors for high energy laser research please visit https://www.optisurf.com/index.php/products/off-axis-paraboloids/ or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com

OSL Optics to help unlock the secrets of Jupiter’s Icy Moons

Optical Surfaces Ltd. (OSL) announces selection by Hensoldt Optronics GmbH, formerly Airbus (Oberkochen, Germany) to supply key precision optics for optical testing the Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA), one of 10 scientific instruments on-board the JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer) mission.

JUICE Mission of Jupiter

JUICE mission artist’s impression (courtesy: ESA)

The JUICE mission is part of the European Space Agency (ESA) cosmic vision programme and its objective is to study Jupiter’s plasma environment and the three icy moons Ganymede, Europa and Calisto. The JUICE spacecraft will be launched in 2022 on an Ariane 5 rocket. After its 8 year voyage it will enter an orbit around Jupiter. During the following three years the orbit will be gradually adjusted and after several fly-bys at Callisto, Europa and Ganymede the spacecraft will reach its final orbit around Ganymede. GALA will be used to determine the topography and time dependent shape of the moon by a direct laser altimetry approach.

UICE mission in Jupiter orbit

Strong electron field faced by JUICE mission in Jupiter orbit.

The GALA instrument is composed of three units: a transceiver unit, a laser electronics unit and an electronics unit all designed to withstand the challenging environment of Jupiter. At the heart of the transceiver unit is a lightweight Ritchey–Chrétien telescope incorporating precision optics capable of providing topographical vertical resolution of less than 5 metres and measure radial tidal deformations of the moons ice shell with an absolute accuracy of less than 0.03.

Because of its international reputation for supplying outstanding mounted optics for telescope systems and instruments, Hensoldt selected Optical Surfaces Ltd. to manufacture and supply a 550 mm diameter off-axis parabolic mirror and two identical folded flat mirrors (600 mm diameter) for optical verification testing of the Ritchey–Chrétien telescope in the GALA instrument.

Dr Aris Kouris, Sales Manager for Optical Surfaces Ltd. commented “To be chosen as a supply partner to help enable the JUICE mission is a great honour. Drawing upon our many decades experience in building telescope systems, we were able to propose a solution to overcome the considerable difficulties posed by the manufacture and testing of the high precision optics”.

For further information on high performance beam expanders please click here or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Optical Surfaces Ltd Reports on Program of Investment

Program of InvestmentOptical Surfaces Ltd (Kenley, UK), a leading producer of ultra-high precision optics and optical systems, reports on an ongoing program of investment in new staff and facilities following consistent growth in sales over the last 3 years.

Dr Aris Kouris, Sales Director commented “Lead by increased international demand for challenging one-off’s and batches of high precision optics from the fundamental physics, astronomy and defence communities in particular we have achieved over 60% growth in the last 3 years. As a customer-focused company we elected to reinvest some of this success into new staff and also enhancing our already comprehensive test facilities with a new 600mm aperture Fizeau interferometer and development of new space for quality assurance”.

He added “I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our latest two new trainee optical technicians to Optical Surfaces. Danny Austin, a skilled machine operator, is currently being trained in polishing of large optical flats, windows and lenses. Drawing upon his experience in quality control, Enoch Wilcox has started his training in our optical smoothing team”.

For further information on Optical Surfaces Ltd please contact the company on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Beam Compressor for Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has been selected by the Magdalena Ridge Observatory (Socorro, New Mexico, USA) to produce an ultra-stable 7.5x off-axis beam compressor that will form a key beam transfer element in the facility’s optical interferometer.

When completed the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI) will be one of the world’s most powerful optical-infrared interferometers, dedicated to high resolution imaging of all types of astronomical objects. The objects that will be observed with the MROI will include many types of nearby stars, including direct observations of the radial pulsations of Cepheid variable stars and surface features on giant stars, to imaging of the brightest active galactic nuclei. In its initial phase, the MROI will consist of three 1.4m diameter telescopes. The telescopes will be moveable between sets of discrete foundations, allowing baselines (inter-telescope spacing) between 7.5m and 347m in length. The MROI is projected to be able to produce an angular resolution of 0.6 milli-arcsecond at 1-micron wavelength.

Magdalena Ridge Observatory

Aris Kouris, Sales Director at Optical Surfaces Ltd, commented “We are delighted to have been selected for this prestigious international astronomical project. Optical Surfaces beam compressors incorporate high precision off-axis mirrors which provide an unobstructed output and highly efficient transmission. Beam compressors are the optical tool of choice for decreasing the diameter of a collimated input beam to a smaller collimated output beam. The reflective design of our beam reducers is achromatic and with protected silver coatings can operate from VIS to far IR without adjustment. However, located at an elevation of 10,600 feet above sea level in the Magdalena Mountains, the MROI beam compressor will be subject to considerable variation in temperature. As a consequence, the design for our 7.5x beam compressor will incorporate INVAR elements tie bars to provide thermal stabilisation”.

Robert Ligon, Instrument Scientist at the Magdalena Research Observatory, said “To minimize diffraction effects from long distance propagation, starlight is collimated into a 95 mm diameter beam at the telescope for propagation through most of the relay system.

The beam compressor to be produced by Optical Surfaces is a key component of the system, allowing the 95 mm beam of starlight to be reduced in size for the final division among instruments. After installation of the first telescope and enclosure at the beginning of the summer, the arrival of the beam compressor will allow us to complete our first beam line and begin testing the interferometer beam train before the arrival of our second telescope.”

For further information on high precision off-axis beam compressors and beam expanders please visit https://www.optisurf.com/index.php/products/laser-beam-expanders/ or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

The Magdalena Ridge Consortium Inc. was formed in January 1996 and the first design for the observatory was commissioned in 2000. In July 2004, a memorandum of agreement was signed with the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, UK for the design of the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI). The Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO) is a multi-use research and educational observatory operated by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) with offices located on the NMT campus in Socorro, New Mexico, USA. For further information please visit http://www.mro.nmt.edu/

Fizeau Interferometer for Testing Very Large Diameter Flats

Optical Surfaces Ltd has developed a 600mm Fizeau interferometer enabling it to now offer quality testing of flats in a single aperture up to 600mm in diameter. This is a capability that only a few optical testing and manufacturing centres around the world possess.

Fizeau Interferometer

Housed in an ultra-stable testing environment, this interferometric set-up will allow direct qualification of larger flat mirrors up to 600mm diameter by testing them directly over their complete aperture without the need to use time-consuming combination methods. This new capability increases confidence in measurement accuracy and data analysis while minimising potential errors and the time taken to complete the quality testing.

As a producer of ultra-high precision optics and optical systems for over 50 years, Optical Surfaces is acknowledged as a leading manufacturer of large, high precision reference / transmission flats and mirrors (coated flats) to research establishments, national standards laboratories and organisations worldwide. This is now complimented by the new interferometric testing facility, which will enable Optical Surfaces to reliably provide even more accurate test data on its reference and transmission flats up to 600mm (24 inches) in diameter.

The company’s ISO 9001-2008 approved manufacturing workshops and test facilities are deep underground in a series of tunnels excavated in solid chalk. This provides an environment where temperature is naturally stable and vibration is extremely low. With such stable conditions testing, particularly with long path lengths, becomes quantifiable and reliable.

Working with highly-stable technical materials such as, Fused Quartz and Zerodur, Optical Surfaces is able to routinely achieve a surface accuracy of better than lambda/20 p.v. and surface roughness of less than 1nm on reference and transmission flats up to 600mm in diameter. In addition to standard flats, Optical Surfaces offers special options for non-circular shaped flats, higher surface accuracy / quality, precision mounts, light-weighted options and an extensive range of coatings for demanding applications. All reference flats from Optical Surfaces Ltd. come with full quality testing assurance.

For further information contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

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