EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 446, Number 1, January IV 2006
Page(s) 389 - 393
Section Instruments, observational techniques, and data processing
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20053880

A&A 446, 389-393 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053880

Large magnetic liquid mirrors

E. F. Borra, D. Brousseau and A. Vincent

Département de physique, génie physique et optique and Centre d'Optique Photonique et Laser (COPL), Université Laval, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4
    e-mail: [borra;debro5;aavin]@phy.ulaval.ca

(Received 21 July 2005 / Accepted 22 September 2005)

We present a new class of large liquid mirrors that use a ferrofluid covered by a reflecting layer of nanoparticles. The surface of the mirror is shaped by several concentric loops of current carrying coils. We first validate our theoretical models by comparing the theoretical predictions to interferometric measurements of a small prototype, finding agreement between data and theory. We then compute with Monte Carlo simulations models for f/2 mirrors having diameters varying between 15 and 44 m. Although much work remains to be done before a functional large mirror is actually built, our first exploration of the concept indicates that it is technologically feasible, thus warranting further work.

Key words: telescopes

© ESO 2006