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.

Mounted Off-Axis Mirrors for Intense Laser Interaction Studies

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has received an order from Strathclyde Intense Laser Interaction Studies (SILIS) Group, from University of Strathclyde (UK) for three ultra-high performance off-axis parabolic mirrors in special custom vacuum motorised mounts.

Mounted Off-Axis Mirrors for Intense Laser Interaction StudiesThe mounted mirrors to be developed by Optical Surfaces Ltd. will be used on several beamlines of the facilities 350TW laser which is designed to support an extensive research portfolio in laser-plasma physics and multidisciplinary applications, with an emphasis on radiation sources and healthcare applications.

The SILIS Group are one of the main collaborators of SCAPA (Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators), an £8M+ state-of-the-art research facility. SCAPA houses laser systems, including a 350 TW laser (5 Hz, 25 fs) and 40 TW laser (10 Hz, 35 fs), and three radiation shielded bunkers, which have space for up to 7 beamlines. Each beamline is uniquely designed to focus on a specific category of laser-plasma interactions and secondary sources. A variety of photon and particle beams will be produced at SCAPA and utilised for multi-faceted R&D ranging from fundamental research (e.g. ionisation and plasma effects) to advanced university-scale applications arising from plasma-based light sources such as free-electron lasers, betatron radiation and inverse Compton scattering.

Three SCAPA beamlines will use Optical Surfaces ultra-high precision off-axis parabolic mirrors each manufactured with different focal lengths. The first one, produced with a long focal length (2000 mm), aims at investigating acceleration of high-quality electron and X-ray beams via underdense plasma and high intense laser interaction. The second one uses a pair of off-axis parabolic mirrors (1000 mm) as part of double plasma mirrors system to further enhance the contrast of the 350 TW SCAPA laser system. The third beamline, which uses the shortest focal length (210 mm) off-axis parabolic mirror, will be dedicated to the investigation of ultrahigh contrast, ultra intense laser-plasma interactions. This will facilitate research into the development and application of laser-driven ion beams.

Mounted Off-Axis Mirrors for Intense Laser Interaction Studies
Operating in a uniquely stable manufacturing environment – Optical Surfaces’ skilled production team is able to routinely produce precision off-axis parabolic mirrors that enable intense laser facilities to conduct ground-breaking research.

Dr Grace Manahan, a SCAPA and SILIS Group research associate said “In all of the beamlines, the quality of the produced/accelerated particles (electrons or ions) and X-ray radiation is highly dependent on the quality of the focus spot produced by the off-axis parabolas. This means that as the high-power laser beam propagates onto the parabola, it should experience virtually no wavefront distortion so that the focus spot is high quality (i.e. no astigmatism or distortion). The surface quality of the off-axis parabolic mirrors and the level of stability provided by their mountings are of vital importance in our supplier selection processes.

Dr Manahan added “We selected Optical Surfaces Ltd because we have colleagues that have already used their optics and their high recommendation gave me confidence on the quality we could expect. In addition, Optical Surfaces Ltd. were the only company that accommodated my series of modification requests and they accepted the challenges of manufacturing these challenging customised optics. During the whole selection process, though particularly in the design of a mirror mount that would be both vacuum compatible and motorised, we were delighted with the support provided by Optical Surfaces Ltd.”

Professor Dino Jaroszynski, Director of SCAPA, said “We are thrilled to have chosen very high quality components for optical setup. This will ensure good stability and reproducibility in experiments. Users will benefit with being able to undertake both long-term, systematic, experiments and shorter term exploratory experiments, which will give them the advantage of establishing good lines of research and pursuing their dreams with follow-on research that yields high impact results. SCAPA will be used by a broad range of users that are developing and applying radiation sources based on high power lasers.”

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has been producing optical components and systems for more than 50 years and is now accepted as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of parabolic mirrors for high energy laser 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 the Strathclyde Intense Laser Interaction Studies (SILIS) Group and SCAPA please visit http://silis.phys.strath.ac.uk/ and www.scapa.ac.uk/.

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

Precision Prisms Supplied for Habitable Planet Research

Optical Surfaces Ltd. reports first solar light results has been achieved by the SPIRou spectrograph* which is installed at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT).

Precision PrismsChosen as a key supplier for this prestigious project – Optical Surfaces Ltd fabricated and delivered several key optical components of the SPIRou spectrograph, namely the twin ZnSe prisms and the Infrasil prism making the SPIRou triple-prism-train cross-disperser. The large Infrasil prism and the twin ZnSe prisms were manufactured to demanding specifications, in particular regarding transmission, wavefront error and scattered light.

The SPIRou spectrograph comprises a near infrared spectropolarimeter and high-precision velocimeter optimised for both the detection of habitable Earth twins orbiting around nearby dwarf stars and the study of forming sun-like stars and their planets.

SPIRou is an heritage instrument developed from the knowledge gained from previous successful spectropolarimeters (ESPaDOnS and NARVAL) and high-precision velocimeters (HARPS), and consists of a high-resolution cryogenic Echelle spectrograph fibre-fed from a Cassegrainian achromatic polarimeter and calibration system. This project is managed in the framework of an international consortium led by France and involving, in addition to the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, Taiwan and Portugal.

Spectral Graph

Dr Aris Kouris commented “Having supplied similar optics for the successful ESPaDOnS and FEROS projects, we have a proven record in manufacturing, mounting and testing precision optics for astrophysics projects”. He added “Our congratulations go out to the SPIRou team for collecting its first non-laboratory photons on November 15th and 16th by staring at the Sun for a couple of hours. This specific experiment allowed researchers to demonstrate that SPIRou reaches a spectral resolving power of 70000, and can measure polarimetric signatures down to sensitivities of 10ppm. Such outstanding performance can only be achieved utilising optical components of the highest quality”.

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has been producing optical components and systems for leading astrophysics research groups for more than 50 years. 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 demanding, high precision optics for astrophysics please contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Precision Etalons Enable High Resolution, High Contrast Spectroscopy

Precision EtalonsOptical Surfaces Ltd. announces receipt of an order for precisely matched precision etalon pairs from The Table Stable Ltd (Mettmenstetten, Switzerland) for use as a key component in their ultra high resolution JRS series interferometers.

Operating in a uniquely stable manufacturing environment – Optical Surfaces’ skilled production team is able to routinely produce the 50mm diameter fused silica etalons pairs for Table Stable with matching accuracies of better than lambda /200. Etalon manufacture places extreme demands on a company’s production capabilities. Material purity, optical figure, plate parallelism, plus surface, spacer and coating quality are all critical to the overall performance of an etalon.

Dr John Sandercock, Managing Director of Table Stable commented “We have worked closely with Optical Surfaces for a long time and have been very pleased with the quality of the matched etalon pairs they supply to us. When hard dielectric coatings are deposited on the substrates differential expansion causes surface strains which distort the surface. We have developed a procedure in cooperation with Optical Surfaces to compensate these forces and so obtain hard coated etalons with surface quality of lambda / 200 or better”.

JRS series interferometersOptical Surfaces Ltd. has been producing optical components and systems for more than 50 years and is now accepted as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-precision optics for interferometry. 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.

The Table Stable Ltd is a world leader in active vibration isolation, and in high resolution, high contrast spectroscopy. Low power piezoelectric technology combined with Swiss quality allows the company to offer outstanding high-performance products. For further information please visit http://www.tablestable.com/en/ or contact Table Stable on +41 44 776 3366.

For further information on demanding, high precision optics for spectrometers and interferometry systems please contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Optical Surfaces Delivers Key Components for Spaceborne Optical Systems

Spaceborne Optical SystemsOptical Surfaces Ltd. has delivered a challenging 300mm diameter off-axis paraboloid and a mounted flat mirror to SIMERA Technology Group (Pty) Ltd – an engineering design and development company specialising in the development of UAV and small satellite optical payload systems.

Drawing upon its highly experienced and skilled production team – Optical Surfaces manufactured the off-axis parabolic mirror with surface accuracy of better than lambda/15 P-V, surface quality of 20/10 scratch/dig and surface slope error of lambda/10/cm P-V. This, together with an ultra-smooth coated reference flat (315 mm diameter), have been produced from Zerodur™ as the main reflective and reference components, for a large flight test alignment collimator under construction in SIMERA Technology Group’s optical clean room. This will be the largest and most capable privately-owned facility for testing of airborne and spaceborne optics in South Africa.

Louwrens Marais, Systems Engineer at SIMERA Technology Group commented: “The contract for the off-axis parabolic and flat mirrors was awarded to Optical Surfaces Ltd. based upon its proven expertise and experience in producing demanding optical systems for the space and satellite systems community.” He added: “We have been very pleased with the technical expertise shown and the support provided by Optical Surfaces Ltd, both in direct dealings, and through Talex UK Ltd, our UK collaborator. We therefore placed an additional order on Optical Surfaces Ltd for the manufacture of Flight Model mirrors for a space telescope project we’re currently involved in. These consist of an annular Zerodur™ Primary Mirror, and second-surface Secondary Mirror. Both are chemically etched spherical mirrors, requiring surface accuracies better than lambda/10 P-V.”

Spaceborne Optical SystemsOptical Surfaces Ltd has been producing optical components and systems for more than 50 years and is now accepted as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-precision optics for satellite and space borne systems. 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 more information on SIMERA Technology Group please visit www.simera.co.za/ or contact them on +27-21-852-6450.

For further information on demanding, high precision optics for space research and satellite systems please visit www.optisurf.com or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Fast Focusing On-Axis Parabolic Mirrors

Optical Surfaces is a leading producer of fast focusing on-axis parabolic mirrors precisely manufactured to customer specifications and supplied with full surface quality test data.

Supplying on-axis paraboloids to leading research groups around the world, Optical Surfaces heritage in this area dates back over 50 years to the production of large astronomical telescope optics, more than 1 metre (39.4 inches) in diameter for the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

Fast Focusing On-Axis Parabolic Mirrors

In comparison to an off-axis paraboloid, an on-axis parabola offers certain advantages. The effective f-number that can be achieved is lower therefore more energy can be concentrated. Generally, also alignment of on-axis parabolic mirrors is less critical, thus easier.

The highly experienced and skilled production team at Optical Surfaces can routinely produce both circular and irregularly shaped on-axis parabolic mirrors with a surface accuracy of better than lambda/20 p.v and microroughness typically less than 1.2nm rms. Combining this with an extensive array of high reflectivity coatings enables researchers to achieve the high optical performance and efficiency required by even the most demanding experiments.

For further information on fast focusing on-axis parabolic mirrors please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

Mounted Reference Flat for ELI-NP Project

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has produced a 600mm diameter mounted reference flat mirror that will enable Thales (www.thalesgroup.com) to perform the alignment of the laser beam expanders implemented in the High Peak Power Laser System for the prestigious ELI-NP project* in Romania.

Mounted Reference Flat

Working in a uniquely stable manufacturing environment, Optical Surfaces skilled staff was able to produce the silver coated, 2-axis gimbal mounted reference flat with a surface accuracy of better than 20nm rms and surface quality of 40/20 scratch/dig.

The optimised beam expanders will be used to produce a precisely expanded laser beam which will enable smaller laser spot sizes to be achieved when used in combination with additional focusing optics. This is very useful in laser focusing optimisation.

The Extreme Light Infrastructure for Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) project* aims to develop an unique and high technology research center in Magurele (Romania) including the most powerful laser system ever achieved: a 2x10PW laser system. . The €60 million contract awarded to Thales to develop the laser system is the largest contract by a national research institute under a European-funded programme.

For further information on ultra-high precision reference flats please visit www.optisurf.com/index.php/products/flats-and-windows/flats/ or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 / sales@optisurf.com.

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