24 July 1998 Variable-curvature mirrors for the VLTI
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Abstract
A variable curvature mirror is a powerful device that can increase the field of view of optical interferometers. Such a mirror has being developed for the coherent combined focus of the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer. The variable focal length permits positioning of the pupil image of an individual telescope at a precise location after the delay-line. This property is necessary to exactly remap homothetically the output pupil configuration at the image beam combiner. Given the large zoom range that is needed in the delay line, when the mirror is not stressed the optical surface is a plane while it is convex with f/2.5 at maximum stress. The mirror itself is a very small stainless steel meniscus, with a 300 μm thickness, because only the high elasticity of such material allows to achieve the full domain of curvature. The thickness distribution of the meniscus is calculated using elasticity theory in the case of a large deformation. The realization of this micro-optic active device requires advanced techniques in optical fabrication and in particular high precision manufacturing with numerical command lathe. This article also presents the testing of this highly Variable Curvature Mirror (VCM) and the surface quality obtained within the full curvature range.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Marc Ferrari, Frederic Derie, "Variable-curvature mirrors for the VLTI", Proc. SPIE 3350, Astronomical Interferometry, (24 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.317151; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.317151
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