Highly reflective broadband mirrors for brighter images in optical telescopes

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Credit: Laser Components

Laser Components has developed highly reflective dielectric mirrors that enable optical telescopes to detect less luminous celestial bodies. The optics cover a wavelength range from 390 nm to 950 nm, which includes both visible light and parts of the near infrared. They have an average reflection of 98 per cent. Depending on customer requirements, the company can manufacture such optics with diameters of up to 300 mm.

The high reflection value means a significant increase in efficiency so that more light is directed to the telescope’s eyepiece. At the same time, the hard surfaces of dielectric mirrors are considerably more robust than soft metallic coatings, they last longer, making the entire system easier to maintain.

The new mirrors are also a result of Laser Components’ investment policy. The company is consistently expanding its manufacturing capabilities to help shape the extremely dynamic market with technical innovations. Among other things, a large IBS system was purchased in which the coating process is monitored via two broadband monitoring (BBM) systems. One of these systems covers the visible spectrum, while the other detects additional infrared wavelengths.

The Central Laser Facility’s Vulcan laser amplifier and mirror bench, R1, at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, 26 January 2015. Credit: Science and Technology Facilities Council

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The Central Laser Facility’s Vulcan laser amplifier and mirror bench, R1, at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, 26 January 2015. Credit: Science and Technology Facilities Council

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