The Advanced Optical Systems Center (CSOA) is an unique infrastructure in Spain for the manufacture of high quality optical elements. This cutting-edge technology is a rising value and, with the necessary requirements in Astrophysics, it is available to very few centers in the world.
It is also of interest to other sectors, such as the laser, optoelectronic or solar industry, which require very demanding optical finishes or coatings. Until now, Spanish companies and institutions had to turn to foreign suppliers, which implies an enormous cost and reduces competitiveness and the ability to participate in international collaborations. Consequently, this initiative represents a leap of enormous relevance to place Spain at the world forefront of the production and innovation sectors of optical components.
Stages of the project
The creation of CSOA involves several phases. Initially, the facilities are being conditioned to build optical surfaces and finishes for mirrors and filters up to 40 cm in diameter. This will allow the generation of the optics of different astronomical instruments, for projects both on the ground and in space. The IAC is currently in the process of acquiring metrology, polishing and coating equipment that will allow the installation to be completed by the end of 2021.
In a later stage, the IAC intends to create a center that will allow the generation of mirrors of up to 1-1.5 m of the type proposed in large telescopes, such as TMT and ELT, and in other smaller ones, such as NRT, which will be key in the exploration of phenomena associated with gravitational waves, gamma ray bursts, etc. They are all based on segmented configurations consisting of 1-1.5 m hexagons for the primary mirror. This infrastructure will provide the IAC and, therefore, the Spanish astronomical community with technological capabilities available to very few countries in the world and, automatically, will strengthen participation in the most ambitious international projects.
Machinery and Equipment
Design and Manufacture of Segmented Mirrors
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The New Robotic Telescope and the Center for Advanced Optics
The New Robotic Telescope (NRT) and the Center for Optics (CSOA) are two of the IAC's most ambitious technology initiatives for the next few years. On the one hand, NRT will be the most powerful robotic telescope in the world allowing the Spanish astrophysics community to play a leading role in the field of time domain astrophysics, while CSOA willCarlos ManuelGutiérrez de La CruzPast
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The NRT (New Robotic Telescope) is a project to design and build a 4-meter telescope within five years, which from the ORM will operate in a totally autonomous and robotic way. This form of operation will make it the largest robotic telescope in the world.
The IAC Technology Division has the capacity for developing complete optical elements and systems from the design stages to manufacturing follow-up, integration and final verification.