World’s largest mirror telescope relies on sensors from Micro-Epsilon
Micro-Epsilon manufactures approx. 5,000 inductive displacement measurement systems for the world’s largest, optical and near-infrared telescope. This record-breaking project is headed by the ESO (European Southern Observatory). The sensors for the revolutionary European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) play a crucial role in this research project. Completion is planned in 2024.
The main mirror alone will have a diameter of 39 meters and comprises 798 single segments. These honeycomb segments must be aligned precisely to each other in order to form a perfect optical system. The sensors provided by the FAMES consortium (Fogale and Micro-Epsilon), ensure exact positioning to nanometer accuracies. Micro-Epsilon is responsible for manufacture of the sensors, which are the most precise ever used in a telescope. Predestined for outdoor applications, the sensors stand out due to their long-term temperature stability, as well as their high resistance to external influences.
Micro-Epsilon’s managing director Martin Sellen is satisfied with the ESO cooperation: "After developing these high precision sensors for such an important project, we can finally deliver the essential component for the world’s largest mirror telescope. The whole construction project pushes the boundaries of technical feasibility. In addition to economic importance, we can also bring our knowledge into international top-level research."
Images: ESO/E.Zamani, ESO/L. Calçada