Design, manufacture and verification of optical fibres

Organizational Unit

At the IAC, it is common the use of optical fibres in the development of astronomical instrumentation. The functional characteristics of the optical fibres and their potential also make them of great interest for other devices in the areas of telecommunications, medical research, instrumentation in general, sensors, etc. The IAC engineering team has acquired great experience in this field with the development of astronomical instrumentation in projects for several telescopes including WHT, GTC or VLT in Chile, where its use mechanically decouples the telescope from the spectrograph that receives the light, while allowing a reconditioning of the entrance photons with minimal losses. The use of optical fibres in the astronomical spectroscopy field has represented a major advance over the traditional spectroscopy, with the IAC being a leading driver in this technological sector. Currently, the research activity at the IAC focuses on the design, manufacture and optical testing of fibre bundles, where some improvements have been introduced, such as the use of microlenses. The Optical Fibre Laboratory of the IAC provides the necessary equipment and infrastructure for its use and manufacturing. Finally, given that part of the work is dedicated to the testing of fibres with non-conventional geometry, the personnel involved is kept up-to-date on everything related to the development of optical fibres and their applications in these areas.

Related Technical facility
Panoramic view of the Fibre Optics Laboratory. On the left, machine to place the materials to be polished with control knobs on the upper part and workbenches with gas extractor hoods on the right
Fibre Optics Laboratory
The Fibre Optics Laboratory is used for the construction of optical fibre bundles for astronomical instrumentation.
Image of one of the polishing machines in the laboratory. Square machine with a mid-height sine to place the materials to be polished and with metal clamps on top to hold the polishing piece. The control knobs for the machine are in the upper part.
Optical polishing machines
Optical quality polishing machines