L3 coats optic for 6.5m telescope

L-3 Corporation’s Applied Optics Center (AOC) recently completed the coating of a large optic for the 6.5 m MMT. The MMT, located on the site of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, is one of the world’s largest astronomical telescopes, located on top of the 8,530-high Mount Hopkins, south of Tucson, Arizona.

The window is the entrance window for the Binospec spectrograph, to be placed in operation at the MMT Observatory in 2015.  The spectrograph will be capable of obtaining simultaneous optical spectra of up to 300 faint galaxies or stars at wavelengths between 390 and 1000 nm.  The entrance window protects the spectrograph optics from dust, moisture, and thermal shock.

The window itself was a large-diameter optic that was coated with a proprietary coating in one of AOC’s unique large coating chambers. AOC designed, validated, and produced the coating to Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory specifications, and delivered the final optics on time and within specification.

“The successful completion of the coating of this optic represents our continued focus on the design, validation, and production of high-layer count, high-value coatings for specialized programs,” according to Jim Hooker, Director of Business Development for L-3’s Applied Optics Center. “We’re proud of our significant placement in this market,  and look forward to continuing to serve mission-critical applications such as the one for the MMT.”