Development of key adaptive mirror technologies for the European Extremely Large Telescope (ELT)

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Physics


We propose to build a 'proof of concept' portion of a large deformable mirror. We will demonstrate that a combination of already available technologies, with some development, can address key problems currently facing large adaptive mirror technologies. We will show that our mirror portion will be scalable to, and representative of the technology required to build a large adaptive mirror for the European ELT. We propose optimising the material parameters of a compliant form of silicon carbide for use as a structural support for a mirror surface. We will develop a novel technique of preparing the surface of the compliant silicon carbide as an adaptive mirror shell by selectively building up a silicon dioxide layer in such a way as to minimise the time required to reach the optical prescription. We will show that a piezo ceramic (PZT) actuator can be modified to address hysteresis and that the combination of low power consumption and inherent stiffness make the device an ideal candidate for large deformable mirrors.


10 25 50
Description New technologies were explored but are not currently being applied directly to astronomical telescopes.
Exploitation Route Further investment might allow the development of large deformable mirrors for aerospace applications
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description This grant principally supported work at the STFC UK Astronomy Technology (and academic and industrial partners) to explore the use and development of technologies to produce large adaptive mirrors.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

Description Cost effective DM technologies 
Organisation University of the West of Scotland
Department Microscales Sensors Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Emergent ideas from the initial grant have been investigated by the original partners and a new collaboration has evolved. The new collaborators bring in expertise in laser machining and applications requiring deformable mirror technologies in laser rangefinding.
Collaborator Contribution Evaluation of test pieces to verify novel concepts
Impact The partners have siubmitted scientific papers and we won the SUPA 2010 business plan competition based on exploiting our technology developments
Start Year 2008
Title Actuator extension sensing 
Description The patent describes a process of using sound waves within a piezo material to determine the change of state of the material on application of a voltage. 
IP Reference GB0710078.7 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2008
Licensed Yes
Impact The technology has attacted further research funding