Spectrograph optics for space applications

1st March 2023
Kiera Sowery

Spectrographs are the ‘go to’ scientific instruments used to study the chemical / physical conditions that exist through a cross-section of space. Combined with a terrestrial or spaceborne telescope a spectrograph can reveal the details that are stored in the spectral distribution of light from a distant star or galaxy.

Instrument performance matters in all scientific research, but none more so than in space exploration. New discoveries in space today are only possible using spectrographs that incorporate ultra-smooth optics able to collect the faintest light signals from distant astronomical entities.

With manufacturing and test facilities situated 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 stabilised environment Optical Surfaces Ltd has developed a reputation for designing, producing and testing large and demanding telescope spectrograph optics (aspherics, mirrors, prisms, lenses and flats) that would stretch the limits of conventional optical fabrication techniques.

Combining these natural advantages with a highly experienced team of optical designers, engineers, and production staff – Optical Surfaces Ltd. are regularly selected to supply high precision telescope spectrograph optical components by many international space research groups.

Notable projects where Optical Surfaces Ltd. has supplied key optics for 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).

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