Archive for the ‘Recent news’ Category

Precision Lenses Enable Ground-breaking Synchrotron Measurements

Using ultra smooth transmission optics supplied by Optical Surfaces Ltd, the MAX IV Laboratory has managed to achieve measurement of the smallest ever electron beam emittance on their state-of-the-art 3 GeV synchrotron storage ring.

3 GeV Storage Ring

The MAX IV Laboratory is Sweden’s internationally renowned national synchrotron radiation facility. Hosted at Lund University, it operates the world´s first fourth-generation storage ring, which uses a multi-bend achromat lattice and innovative accelerator engineering solutions to deliver unprecedented photon beam brightness for research in a wide variety of scientific fields.

Piano Convex LensÅke Andersson and Jonas Breunlin, researchers in the accelerator development group at the MAX IV Laboratory say “Since our 3 GeV storage ring was designed to store an electron beam of so far unprecedented transverse small dimensions and angular spreads, so-called emittance, two diagnostic beam lines were made available for observing and measuring these properties of the electron beam. Our beamlines use a much longer wavelength (visible to middle UV) region within the synchrotron radiation span than is normally used in other beamlines. Consequently, we base our measurements on the Kirchoff’s diffraction theory adapted to the synchrotron radiation emission and focusing. In this way we may use a relatively (compared to X-ray optics) simple optical set-up based on transmission optics. However, to do this we needed very high-quality surface accuracies on our optical components, in order to ensure that the radiation diffraction properties are not hidden by surface roughness or inaccuracies”.

Dr Andersson added “We selected Optical Surfaces Ltd to supply the critical high precision Plano convex lenses at the heart of our beam focusing set-up because of their extensive experience of supply critical optics to synchrotron facilities around the world and excellent technical support. We found Optical Surfaces very helpful in helping us make key decisions, such as choosing plano-convex instead of bi-convex lenses and choosing the optimum optical material offering best transmission down to 200nm. In addition, they were able to advise us small modifications to our design specification that would enable them to manufacture the lenses, three- and four-inch diameters, to our required surface accuracy of Lambda/20 (P-V) and transmitted wave form distortion around Lambda/15 (P-V). All-in-all our experience of working with Optical Surfaces on this project was very good. Accelerator science results from our 3 GeV storage ring, based on the diagnostic beam lines will be presented at the International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC 2019) now in May”.

Dr Aris Kouris, Sales Manager at Optical Surfaces Ltd. commented “We were very pleased to be approached by the MAX IV laboratory to discuss the optical requirements of their demanding synchrotron beam line project. This allowed us to exactly understand their needs and deliver the ultra-high quality plano-convex lenses their ground-breaking work needed”.

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has been producing optical components, mounted optical components and systems for more than 50 years and is now accepted as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of large high-precision optics and optical systems for synchrotron research. The company’s ISO 9001-2008 approved manufacturing workshops and test facilities are deep underground in a series of tunnels excavated in solid chalk where temperature remains constant and vibration is practically non-existent. With such stable conditions, testing, particularly with long path lengths, becomes quantifiable and reliable. Working with these natural advantages is a highly skilled team of craftsmen with a commitment to excellence in both product quality and customer service.

For further information on high precision optics for synchrotron research please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

Mounted or Unmounted Spherical Mirrors

Optical Surfaces Ltd. is a leading international manufacturer of high precision spherical mirrors with radii (Rc) from 25 to 5000mm (1 to 200 inches) for use in UV-Visible and Infrared applications including Schlieren imaging, wind tunnels, observatory spectrographs, bubble chambers and as hindle spheres to test hyperboloids.

Over the last 50+ years, Optical Surfaces has produced concave and convex spherical mirrors with diameters up to 1.3 metres (511 inches) in a wide range of materials and coatings for leading research establishments and organisations worldwide

High Precision Mirrors  Spherical Mirrors  

With workshops and test facilities deep underground where temperatures remain constant and vibration is practically non-existent Optical Surfaces routinely produces spherical mirrors of unmatched quality. Typical achievable surface accuracy is better than lambda/30 p-v, surface quality 10:5 scratch dig and micro roughness less than 1.2nm RMS. These same unique production facilities allow Optical Surfaces to manufacture and test very long radii spherical mirrors by taking full advantage of the long tunnels they have at their disposal.

For applications where stability is critical, Optical Surfaces can also supply its high-quality OS Series mounts to provide a secure platform for your spherical mirrors. Angular alignment of mounted mirrors is achieved about the vertical and horizontal axes using dual action adjusters with fine screw and ultra-fine differential micrometer action. Using these mounts, it is possible to rapidly align a large diameter mirror within a few arc seconds. A range of additional motorised options are available for OS Series mounts to enable remote operation in hostile environments or for use in limited space applications where manual adjustment may be difficult.

Optical Surfaces ISO 9001-2000 approved manufacturing facility provides the flexible resources to supply from single specialist requirements to OEM quantities. Benefiting from its stable environment, quality testing becomes quantifiable and reliable. All spherical mirrors are provided with a complete quality test assurance report.

For further information on high precision spherical mirrors please contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

Astronomical Research Drives Improvements in Optical Technology

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has published an article ‘Unveiling the Cosmos’ that discusses the latest challenges and trends in modern astronomy and describes how these advances have acted as a significant driver towards the improvement of their optical technologies.

Optical Technology

Using new high homogeneity optical materials and improved polishing compounds has enabled Optical Surfaces to make further improvements in their manufacturing of large space optics with very tight manufacturing tolerances. Combining this with the latest coating technologies the company is now able to deliver optical components with improved reflective / anti-reflective performance and enhanced environmental stability, protection and durability.

Over the last 50+ years, Optical Surfaces has established itself as is a leading designer and supplier of high precision astronomical optics operating over the entire spectral range from infrared to x-ray wavelengths.

Telescope primary mirrorBenefiting from operating in a unique production environment, free from vibration and temperature variation, Optical Surfaces Ltd is able to regularly produce high precision aspheric optics, ultra-smooth mirrors, high performance prisms, Schmidt camera and Laser launch telescope optics which stretch the limits of conventional optical fabrication techniques.

To certify the surface accuracy and precision of its astronomical optics, Optical Surfaces uses large aperture Zygo GPI, Twyman Green, Scatterplate, Fizeau and Laser Unequal Path (LUPI) interferometers which enables one-to-one testing of even the largest diameter astronomical optics. Topographic and fringe analysis provides precise testing of surface roughness and confirms the wavefront of various surface forms. A rolling program for calibration of test optics where possible to national standards and production approval to ISO 9001-2015 ensures that the quality of astronomical optics from Optical Surfaces is second to none.

To read the technical article in full please visit For further information on high precision astronomical optics please contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

Precision Windows for High Power Laser Experiments

High Precision Laser Windows

Large, high precision laser window

Benefiting from an ultra-stable production environment and proprietary polishing techniques – Optical Surfaces Ltd. is able to routinely produce high-power laser windows up to 600mm in diameter with typical wavefront error of lambda/10 and surface finish of 40/20 to 10/5.

Working with a range of optical materials including BK-7 and fused silica, which offer good homogeneity and transmission from the UV to the Near-IR, Optical Surfaces is today a preferred supplier of large, precision windows to many high-power laser research groups around the world.

To optimise the performance of rapid-pulsed (femtosecond) high-power lasers – Optical Surfaces Ltd is able to supply the latest dielectric coatings on windows to provide minimum pulse distortion, maximum usable bandwidth and durability.

Large High Precision Laser Windows

Large, high precision laser window

In applications where there is significant risk of mobile material as a result of high-power laser ablation – Optical Surfaces also has considerable experience of producing large ultra-flexible windows (debris shields) to protect the final high precision lens that focuses laser energy onto the targets. Manufacturing debris shields combines the dual demands of producing a precision wavefront (typically lambda/5 to lambda/10) on a flexible window with a high diameter to thickness ratio.

For further information please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

Illustrated Guide to Aligning Off-Axis Paraboloids

Off-Axis Paraboloid Alignment ProcedureOptical Surfaces Ltd. announces that it produced an updated version of its popular ‘Practical Guide to Off-Axis Paraboloid Alignment Procedures’.

Off-axis paraboloids, also referred to as off-axis parabolic mirrors, provide the advantage of an unhindered aperture and access to the focal plane. They are ideal for broadband or multiple wavelength applications, thanks to their complete achromatic performance. Off-axis paraboloids often deliver the most cost-effective solution without compromising performance to many problems faced by optical and system designers.

With decades of manufacturing and supplying ultra-high precision off-axis parabolic mirrors to leading research groups around the world – the guide provides highly informed hints and tips to enable users to get top performance from their optics.

The illustrated alignment guide includes an introduction to OAP geometry as well as step-by step instructions on initial alignment; tips to correct for errors in focus and tilt, set off-axis distance and rotation and a final alignment procedure to ensure optimised performance.

For a copy of the 2018/2019 edition of ‘Practical Guide to OAP Alignment’ please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

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 or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

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

For further information on challenging optical systems for space research please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

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 or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

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

For further information on aspheric lenses for high energy laser research please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 /

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 /

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