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OPTICON FP7 phase 2: WP5 kicked-off

Submitter: Lars Venema
Description: The second phase of the FP7 OPTICON program started on January 1st. On March 26 and 27, the kickoff meeting for Workpackage 5 took place in Budapest, Hungary. The subject of this Workpackage is "Smart Instrument Technologies - Development on active freeform mirrors".

The scale and requirements of future (optical) astronomical instruments, like those for the giant 42m E-ELT, drive the scale and complexity of the optics. Instruments based on current technology tend to get bigger and more complex, leading to increasingly tight requirements on the overall performance.

In order to reduce the systems complexity, and thus the overall instrument weight, size and cost, without compromising on performance, new technology is needed. One way forward is the introduction of extremely freeform mirrors. These allow a reduction of the total number of mirrors in the optical train, facilitating larger spectral bandwidth, wider fields of view, and increased reliability and operational availability, while minimizing the loss of photons.

The goal of Workpackage 5 is to combine two innovative technologies (freeform mirrors and active optics) to produce Active Freeform Mirrors (AFMs). The meeting reviewed the activities and tasks that will be needed for the research and development of a demonstrator for the Freeform Active Mirror Experiment (FAME).

The team consists of people from the Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh (UK), Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille in France, and NOVA and ASTRON in the Netherlands. The location was selected to visit the Konkoly institute in Budapest.

The meeting was very successful and happened in very good spirit. All team members went home highly motivated to make this project a success.
Copyright: Lars Venema
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