Posted in | Imaging

Optical Surfaces Celebrate 40 Years of Supplying High Precision Spectrograph Optics for Telescopes

For over 40 years Optical Surfaces Ltd. has supplied high precision spectrograph optics for land and space based astronomical telescopes.

Drawing upon a highly experienced team of optical designers, engineers, and skilled production staff and benefiting from a unique high stability manufacturing environment, Optical Surfaces has been the preferred supplier to many international astronomy research groups. Notable projects completed by Optical Surfaces include the Narval stellar spectropolarimeter installed on the 2m Bernard Lyot Telescope in the French Pyrenees, the High Resolution Optical Spectrograph (HROS) based on the 8m Gemini Telescope in Chile, the Fibre-fed Extended Range Optical Spectrograph (FEROS) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the ESPaDOnS spectrograph at the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope (CFHT).

A spectrograph is an instrument that is used to study the chemical / physical conditions that exist through a cross-section of space. Combined with an astronomical telescope a spectrograph can reveal the details that are stored in the spectral distribution of light from a distant astronomical body.

With the main workshops and test facilities deep underground in an area excavated from solid chalk, temperatures in Optical Surfaces Ltd. production facility remain constant year-round and vibration is practically non-existent. These are important considerations when making, mounting and testing high precision telescope spectrograph optics. Benefiting from this unique stabilised environment Optical Surfaces Ltd has developed a reputation for designing and producing large and demanding telescope spectrograph optics (aspherics, mirrors, prisms, lenses and flats) that would stretch the limits of conventional optical fabrication techniques.

Investment in a range of interferometers allows one-to-one testing of even the largest diameter spectrograph optics. Topographic and fringe analysis provides precise testing of surface roughness and confirms the wavefront of various surface forms. Operating a rolling program for calibration of test optics where possible to national standards and production approval to ISO 9001-2000 ensures that the quality of telescope spectrograph optics from Optical Surfaces Ltd. is second to none.

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