Volume 419, Number 2, May IV 2004
|Page(s)||777 - 782|
|Published online||03 May 2004|
Nanoengineered astronomical optics
Centre d'Optique, Photonique et Lasers, Université Laval, Québec, Qc, G1K 7P4, Canada
2 Département de physique, de génie physique et d'optique, Université Laval, Québec, Qc, G1K 7P4, Canada
3 Département de Chimie, Université Laval, Québec, Qc, G1K 7P4, Canada
Corresponding author: E. F. Borra, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 12 January 2004
We describe a technology for the fabrication of inexpensive and versatile mirrors through the use of a new type of nanoengineered optical material composed by the spreading of a self-assembling reflective colloidal film spread at the surface of a liquid. These new reflecting liquids offer interesting possibilities for astronomical instrumentation. For example, they can replace mercury in conventional rotating liquid mirrors. The main advantages offered include extremely low cost and, by coating a viscous liquid, the possibility of tilting the mirror by a few tens of degrees. We also have coated ferromagnetic liquids with these reflecting films. The resulting surfaces can be shaped by the application of a magnetic field, yielding reflecting surfaces that can have complicated shapes that can rapidly shift with time. These inexpensive and versatile optical elements could have numerous scientific and technological applications. Among possible astronomical applications, they could be used to make large inexpensive adaptive mirrors exhibiting strokes ranging from nanometers to several millimeters.
Key words: telescopes / instrumentation: miscellaneous / instrumentation: adaptive optics
© ESO, 2004
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