Coating specialists service the mirrors of the European Southern Observatory in Chile

The Danish Technological Institute teamed up with Polyteknik to analyze and service the equipment used for coating the telescope mirrors at ESO, the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) array is the flagship facility for European ground-based astronomy. It is one of the world’s most advanced optical instruments, consisting of four Unit Telescopes with main mirrors of 8.2m diameter and four movable 1.8m diameter Auxiliary Telescopes.

Regular coating services enhance mirror functionality

Challenged by a reduced reflectivity of the coating covering the four telescopes’ main mirrors at the VLT facility, ESO contracted DTI and Polyteknik to analyze, document and service the sputtering systems used for the coating of the mirrors.

The team provided an in-depth analysis

Polyteknik and DTI visited the VLT facilities at the Paranal site, located 2500 meters above sea level, and started the assessment and the required service activities. The most significant issues reported and addressed included:

> Leak detection of vacuum vessel (122 m3)
> Leak detection of 4 m magnetron and shields
> Overhaul of 4 m magnetron
> Power supply check
> Check and exchange of cryo pumps
> Process assessment and verification

Polyteknik as onsite service provider

Following their first assignment to ESO and other deliveries to Big Science facilities, Polyteknik is now contracting as a hardware and on-site service provider to the Big Science market. The combination of a highly dedicated team specialized in science, engineering and manufacturing with many years of experience within vacuum, thin film and plasma processes pushes Polyteknik forward in the process of building up a cooperation with Big Science facilities.

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