| At the SPIE conference - Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation - in Edinburgh last June 2016 we proudly showcased our FAME demonstrator. We presented the latest achievements in several papers, but more importantly were able to show the real hardware in the Dutch pavilion at the exhibition.
This has been the fantastic result of a collaboration between the NOVA - Optical Infrared Instrumentation Group, LAM (F), ATC (UK) and Konkoly (H). Through the hard work and sheer determination of the team the demonstrator made its appearance at the conference.
The demonstrator consists of freeform mirror which has a very high quality surface with a shape accuracy of less than 5 micrometre rms. With active actuation the as-built demonstrator mirror shape will be within 100 nanometre rms of the as-designed optical surface. The fun part of the project starts now, which is the characterisation of the element, which will be followed by updating the design such that it can be used in a vacuum and at cryogenic temperatures.
The aim of FAME is to combine extreme freeforms and deformable mirrors using standard optics in order to provide a stable integrated system solution that can be used in future instrumentation, regardless of the environment (cryogenics or otherwise). The goal is to illustrate that it is possible to reduce complexity, mass, volume and cost, while improving the performance of the overall system.
The work concentrated on:
- Optical design solutions and design optimization flows for freeform based optical designs.
- Identification of several compact, fast, wide-field optical designs working in the visible, with diffraction limited performance.
- Optimization of the lay-out and required number of actuators.
- A novel method for surface shaping with very high quality through hydroforming and stress polishing.
- The design of an active array to control the mirror shape dynamically.
- Novel actuator designs and control system.
This research forms part of the OPTICON program and is supported by the European Commission's FP7 Capacities program (Grant number: 312430).