The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) primary mirror consists of seven 8.4 m light-weight honeycomb mirrors that are being manufactured at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab (RFCML), University of Arizona. In order to manufacture the largest and most aspheric astronomical mirrors various high precision fabrication technologies have been developed, researched and implemented at the RFCML. The unique 8.4 m (in mirror diameter) capacity fabrication facilities are fully equipped with large optical generator (LOG), large polishing machine (LPM), stressed lap, rigid conformal lap (RC lap) and their process simulation/optimization intelligence called MATRIX. While the core capability and key manufacturing technologies have been well demonstrated by completing the first GMT off-axis segment, there have been significant hardware and software level improvements in order to improve and enhance the GMT primary mirror manufacturing efficiency. The new and improved manufacturing technology plays a key role to realize GMT, the next generation extremely large telescope enabling new science and discoveries, with high fabrication efficiency and confidence.
The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona is responsible for production of the eight 8.4 m segments for the primary mirror of the Giant Magellan Telescope, including one spare off-axis segment. We report on the successful casting of Segment 4, the center segment. Prior to generating the optical surface of Segment 2, we carried out a major upgrade of our 8.4 m Large Optical Generator. The upgrade includes new hardware and software to improve accuracy, safety, reliability and ease of use. We are currently carrying out an upgrade of our 8.4 m polishing machine that includes improved orbital polishing capabilities. We added and modified several components of the optical tests during the manufacture of Segment 1, and we have continued to improve the systems in preparation for Segments 2-8. We completed two projects that were prior commitments before GMT Segment 2: casting and polishing the combined primary and tertiary mirrors for the LSST, and casting and generating a 6.5 m mirror for the Tokyo Atacama Observatory.
The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab is in the process of fabricating 8.4 meter mirror segments for the Giant Magellan Telescope. Seven of the segments are off-axis with 14 mm of aspheric departure. In order to successfully fabricate these mirrors we are constantly taking steps towards faster, more deterministic methods, from diamond generating to stressed lap polishing. The Large Optical Generator (LOG) is celebrating its 30-year anniversary at the University of Arizona with a complement of technological updates and enhancements. This paper shows how some of these upgrades will aid in the manufacture of the GMT segments.
Segment production for the Giant Magellan Telescope is well underway, with the off-axis Segment 1 completed, off-axis
Segments 2 and 3 already cast, and mold construction in progress for the casting of Segment 4, the center segment. All
equipment and techniques required for segment fabrication and testing have been demonstrated in the manufacture of
Segment 1. The equipment includes a 28 m test tower that incorporates four independent measurements of the segment's
figure and geometry. The interferometric test uses a large asymmetric null corrector with three elements including a 3.75
m spherical mirror and a computer-generated hologram. For independent verification of the large-scale segment shape,
we use a scanning pentaprism test that exploits the natural geometry of the telescope to focus collimated light to a point.
The Software Configurable Optical Test System, loosely based on the Hartmann test, measures slope errors to submicroradian
accuracy at high resolution over the full aperture. An enhanced laser tracker system guides the figuring
through grinding and initial polishing. All measurements agree within the expected uncertainties, including three
independent measurements of radius of curvature that agree within 0.3 mm. Segment 1 was polished using a 1.2 m
stressed lap for smoothing and large-scale figuring, and a set of smaller passive rigid-conformal laps on an orbital
polisher for deterministic small-scale figuring. For the remaining segments, the Mirror Lab is building a smaller, orbital
stressed lap to combine the smoothing capability with deterministic figuring.