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CILAS Delivers Record 1,377 Actuator Adaptive Mirror To ESO

Orléans, France – December 6, 2007:   CILAS has delivered a deformable mirror with 1,377 piezoelectric actuators to the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The mirror will be used in SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch), an instrument for the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the
  Paranal Observatory in Chile. CILAS, leader in the field of advanced adaptive optics components for high angular resolution, won an international call for tender in June 2005 for the development of this essential component. This development was funded by ESO and by the FP6 Optical Infrared Coordination Network for Astronomy (OPTICON) project of the European Commission.

SPHERE, a second generation VLT instrument, will be used for the direct imaging and study of extrasolar planets. It is one of the most powerful and challenging astronomical instruments being built for the 8-meter VLT telescopes.

The deformable mirror developed by CILAS will correct accurately in real time the wavefront of the stellar and planet images distorted by the atmospheric turbulence above the telescope. Because of the large number of actuators, the actuator bandwidth, the
Introduction to Adaptive Optics, Tyson
actuator stroke and the accurate control of the optical surface provided by this deformable mirror, SPHERE should be able to provide superb images with an outstanding contrast between the star and its companion planet. The characteristics of this deformable mirror significantly outperform existing components developed so far. With its 1,377 piezoelectric actuators, it has the largest number of actuators worldwide. The previous adaptive mirror delivered by CILAS for the ESO first generation adaptive instrument NACO at the VLT had 185 actuators and was operated at a frequency of 700Hz.

Thanks to longstanding and fruitful cooperation over the last twenty years, CILAS has already delivered fourteen adaptive mirrors to ESO. The expertise and technologies developed by CILAS in this field have enabled the company to grow and develop new-generations of adaptive mirrors, with increasing actuator numbers and density and to meet the ever more demanding requirements of its customers.

CILAS deformable mirrors optimised for high-resolution imaging and laser beams correction are currently being used in adaptive optics systems at Gemini and Subaru telescopes.

Previous News:  
CILAS Wins Two Major Contracts For Deformable Mirrors In the United States, Dec 2004.

About CILAS:  
For over 40 years, CILAS has developed, manufactured and marketed a wide range of lasers, optronics products and systems for defence, civilian, military security, large-scale scientific laser programmes, and scientific-industrial instrumentation. With a turnover of 30 million euros, CILAS employs 200 people on five sites in France.

About ESO:  
ESO is the intergovernmental European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere. On behalf of its thirteen member states, ESO operates a suite of the world's most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes located at the La Silla and Paranal Observatories in the Atacama desert in Chile. The ESO Headquarters are situated in Garching near Munich, Germany.

Full Press Release  

© 2007
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Imaging Through Turbulence, Roggemann Deep Probings, MacPherson