Ground-based Astronomy

Thema:
Ground based astronomy

TNO is a world-class leader in ultra-precision opto-mechatronics. We enable cutting edge science with our technology development programs in the area of Astronomy. These include nanometer-precision support structures, actuators, laser launch telescopes and deformable mirrors. When technology must be mature, precise and reliable, our organization has a 100% success rate in space and scientific instrumentation.

TNO Contributing to the Future of Astronomy

TNO Technologies for Astronomy - enabling a better view of the universe

TNO technologies for astronomy

When technology must be mature, precise and reliable, our organization has a 100% success rate in space and scientific instrumentation. An effective telescope system must have the highest precision components possible. From a system perspective this includes key instruments to maintain, measure and correct the wavefront. Segmented mirrors must be co-phased to sub-lambda scale accuracy. Even before the first deformable mirror, the primary and secondary mirrors must maintain near-perfect surface form to preserve the quality of the incoming light, and maintain the diffraction limit. Beyond excellent component design and production, this includes calibration and actuation to counter natural forces including gravity vector (changing telescope orientation), wind loading, thermal gradients and ground movement. Of course, adaptive optics is more than just deformable mirrors. Other key components, such as wavefront sensors, laser guide stars and optimized real-time control systems are key to quality scientific data from large telescopes.

VLTi Laser Launch System: improving telescope vision with artificial guide stars

Decades of heritage with 100% reliability

Since 1964 TNO has designed, built and calibrated a growing list of mainly optical instruments and modules. Starting with the very first scientific instrument built for ESA, TNO has a proven track record in space instruments and components spanning half a century. TNO has consistently delivered breakthrough technology and components, ranging from spectrometers for Earth observation and planetary exploration to high-tech, mission-critical space components.

ELT M1 Support Structure: 1.4 m mirror controlled to 25 nm surface form accuracy

Astronomy applications currently running include the laser launch telescopes, delay lines and star separators for the VLTi, the world's largest optical interferrometric telescope sytem. Recently, with its partners VDL and NOVA, TNO successfully completed the design for the Primary Mirror (M1) support structure for ESO's Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). The development, from idea to a fully tested system, took place from 2005-2018. The design met the demanding 25-30 nm surface form correction in all gravitational vectors. The 39-meter primary mirror is made of 798 1.4-meter segments, with 133 different mirror shapes, for which the single TNO design can be adjusted to compensate. In collaboration with TNO, VDL was recently awarded the contract to build the full series of M1 support structures.
TNO works in compliance with international quality and confidentiality regulations. TNO helps to improve the quality of life on Earth and stimulates the search for signs of life beyond our planet, with the following technology development areas:

  • Mirror Support Structure Design (EELT-M1, M2/M3)
  • Mirror Support Structure Position Actuators (PACT)
  • Segmented Mirror Cophasing Metrology (OCT)
  • Laser Guide Star Launch Telescopes (VLT, ELT)
  • Deformable Mirrors (ESA, Laser Communications)
  • Opto-Mechatronics (Multidisciplinary Expertise)
  • Optimized Controls and Precision Instruments (Spectrometers, Star Separators)

We look forward to working together with you to build the highest quality scientific instrumentation.

TNO has a long history of working in Astronomy and related space and scientific instrumentation. TNO combines four areas of expertise to reach cutting-edge levels of accuracy and control in ultra-precision opto-mechatronics: Optics (optical design and engineering), Mechatronics (mechanical design, mechanisms and controls to full optical systems), Space Systems Engineering (engineering, managing and testing the finest details to ensure performance in the most challenging environments) and Optical Manufacturing (nanometer precision of complex optics, coatings, freeforms and aspheres).

TNO space and scientific instrumentation

With over 50 years of space heritage, we develop one-off and prototype instrumentation for Earth observation, space-borne science missions, terrestrial astronomy and big science solutions, extended with our recent development for high-bandwidth laser satellite communication.

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Quantum internet enabled by space

Informatietype:
Webinar
23 October 2023
1 aflevering
Quantum computing holds the promise of tackling major contemporary challenges, ranging from predictive analysis and material design to pharmaceutical development and handling vast datasets.

TNO joins European collaboration to develop global quantum internet enabled from space

Informatietype:
News
1 September 2023

TNO & partners bring deep-space communication a step closer

Informatietype:
Insight
16 June 2023

Satellite instrument OMI orbits Earth for 100,000th time

Informatietype:
News
4 May 2023

Jan Nijenhuis appointed Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands

Informatietype:
News
26 April 2023