Optical Engineering and Fabrication Facility

The Optical Systems Development and Fabrication section of The College of Optical Sciences at The University of Arizona, is a fully functional optical design and fabrication facility. This department, headed by Jeff Kingsley, houses a large optics shop, a small optics shop, opto-mechanical engineering facility, instrument shop, optical generation equipment, and optical testing equipment.

The small optics shop opticians have vast experience in fabricating precision optical components from many different types of glasses, ceramics and metals. Completed in the small optics shop was an all metal matrix composite 16″ R-C telescope and spectrograph launched on the Space Shuttle on 10/29/98. Other work done in the small optics shop includes two facetted quartz blocks for the Gravity Probe B spaceborne experiment. These blocks are roughly 7″ in diameter and 22″ long with geometrically constrained facets which prevent the use of standard polishing equipment. These facets were hand polished and held to one arcsecond orthogonality requirements in two planes. Other work includes several F/0.5 EUV Imager mirrors with eighth wave surfaces and three Angstrom roughness, an all SXA(Silicon Carbide/Aluminum) Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 16 inch diameter foam SXA primary and 15 element lens bench, and a 10″ aperture astrographic lens with diffraction limited performance and zero distortion over a 10 degree field of view.

The large optics shop facilities include various polishing machines with turntables up to 170 inches in diameter, a temperature stabilized environment, a 125 foot vertical optical test tower, and a 26 foot vertical optical test tower. The large optics shop is equipped with IR and visible interferometers, and has developed a high speed CCD based interferometer, which has excellent performance over long optical path lengths or in non-ideal testing environments. Examples of work done in the large optics shop include the technology demonstrator for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and a convex mold to be used for the technology demonstrator in the Far Infrared Space Telescope (FIRST) program. The NGST demonstrator is a 2 meter diameter 2 mm thick shell which will be actively controlled for figure correction. The FIRST mold is a 2 meter diameter F/1 convex sphere which will be used for demonstrating replicating technology for graphite-composite based optics.

The opto-mechanical engineering and instrument shop personnel design and fabricate such devices as optical support structures, space and ground based telescopes, precision optical test instruments, and related equipment. They also perform mirror structural design, structural analysis and opto-mechanical research on various subjects, including optimization and mounting of lens systems and mirrors. Among other projects, they have designed large optical telescopes and telescope subsystems, space-based detectors, and airborne optical instruments for government and industry.

Chang-jin Oh, OEFF Technical Director / Jeff Kingsley, OEFF Director

“The partnership between OEFF and the LOFT research group (Large Optics Fabrication and Testing) provides OEFF staff with opportunities to contribute to basic research, and provides technology for OEFF projects. Optical Sciences students get real experience with optical systems engineering, fabrication, and testing. Combined with the strong academic program, such skills make our graduates among the top in the world.” James H. Burge, LOFT group founder

Comments are closed.