TNO's Optomechatronics department knows how to design, realize and test mechatronical systems for optical applications requiring extreme stability, highly accurate and fast motion, and / or operation in extreme environments. The most important fields of expertise that TNO covers are precision mechanics, mechatronics and control. Optomechatronics have built systems for space, astronomy, semicon and for nuclear fusion projects.


TNO translates customer's wishes into technical requirements. This in combination with knowledge of the market and technical risks yields valuable projects. TNO's inter-disciplinary approach to come to system architecture, design, manufacturing and testing has a large added value. The most important disciplines that are covered are precision mechanics, mechatronics and control. Precision mechanics focuses on achieving extreme structural stability, specific stiffness and predictable motion behavior. TNO has knowledge on the mounting of optics, precision design principles and the prediction of the system's stability. Precision mechatronics focuses on realization of very stable positioning and / or accurate motion. TNO combines dynamic system modeling and design approach with knowledge of and experience with metrology principles and of sensors and actuators. Control allows for further increasing the performance. TNO focuses, amongst PID- and MIMO control and its implementation, on optimal-, nonlinear - and adaptive control.

  • Space & Astronomy
    Demands for optomechatronic systems become more and more stringent. TNO provides high-end optomechatronic subsystems, and is involved in the conceptual design phase as well as in delivering the final hardware.
  • Semicon
    Besides providing high-end subsystems for EUV lithography technology, TNO addresses new lithography concepts. The experience from working on the systems for the front-end market is now also being applied to the back-end market.
  • Big Science
    TNO mainly address projects for nuclear fusion (reactors ITER, W7-X and JET). Recently, also technology developments for a new CERN particle accelerator (CLIC) and stages for ESRF beam lines have been proposed.
  • Medical Instrumentation
    Medical instrumentation, such as haptic surgery instruments and imaging devices, usually has high stability and accuracy requirements, and often operates in extreme environments (autoclaving, MRI scanners).

TNO knows how to design, manufacture, test and deliver systems that meet extreme requirements. Examples are:


TNO recently realized a large scale mechatronic system that performs better on earth than the final instrument will do in space. AFMA is designed and built for ESA. It simulates GAIA's rotations in space in three degrees of freedom. The accuracy of the important scanning direction is very high: 3.2 nrad per 4,4 s

OTA for the ESO VLT

OTA consists of an a-thermalized stable 20x optical beam expander with an in-house manufactured a-spherical lens of Ø380 mm and an extremely stable mirror pointing mechanism with custom actuators. The first OTA is recently tested resulting in a very satisfied customer.


TNO has, with MECAL, developed a solution to suppress disturbing vibrations in high-tech machinery with a factor 30. Also at low frequencies, while the robustness for e.g. motions of the machine is maintained. A key component is the custom designed sensor that yields very low noise.

Our work

Gaia Basic Angle Monitoring system

The Gaia mission, part of ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme, will create an extraordinarily precise three-dimensional map of more than one billion stars in our Milky Way by around 2022. The Gaia spacecraft,... Read more
Our work

Applied Research for Industrial Automation

You might have seen our technology demonstrator at the Hannover Messe. This 3D sensor is just one example of the technology development in cooperation with our industrial partners. TNO might not have... Read more

High-tech with light; photonics shines brightest in the Netherlands!

06 September 2018
Dutch Optics Centre (DOC) in Delft is the expertise centre for high-tech optics and optomechatronics in the Netherlands. At DOC, which is an initiative of TNO and TU Delft, 300 businesses are now on board,... Read more

TNO and TU/e HTSC join forces in Nano Opto-Mechatronics Instruments

21 November 2017
TU Eindhoven’s High Tech Systems Center (HTSC) is joining forces with TNO in the NOMI (Nano Opto-Mechatronics Instruments) collaboration. Together they will drive technology innovations to develop instruments... Read more

Expertise groups


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