ESO helps European company win major international contract

3. února 2020

The French company CILAS has won a multi-million Euro contract with an international organisation thanks in part to technology developed jointly with ESO. “This is a very nice example where ESO invested in technology research and development with a European company and strengthened its capabilities,” says Stefan Ströbele, an expert on deformable mirrors at ESO who worked with CILAS.      

CILAS, one of ESO's industrial partners and a pioneer in adaptive optics, built deformable mirrors for a number of instruments on ESO telescopes. Many instruments on modern telescopes rely on in-built adaptive optics systems to correct for the effects of atmospheric turbulence. Deformable mirrors are key components of these systems; by means of actuators, their surface can be deformed ever so slightly to compensate for the atmospheric distortion that makes the images fuzzy.

To support research and technological development in Europe, and to ensure the availability of necessary technology for ESO telescopes, ESO worked together with CILAS and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) in 2013–2015 on the design and development of actuators for deformable mirrors.

Last year, TIO, an international organisation with American, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Canadian partners, granted the contract for the development of two large deformable mirrors for its telescope to CILAS. “Our investment in the early stages of the development helped CILAS technology being selected against international competitors,” says ESO’s Elise Vernet, the manager of the 2013–2015 development project.

“This contract is the result of a close collaboration between CILAS, TIO and ESO to develop deformable mirror technology for very large telescopes. For this purpose, CILAS adapted and improved its technology, initially developed in the 1980s, to meet the needs of astronomers,” says Richard Palomo, the sales manager of the adaptive optics department at CILAS.

The technology ESO helped develop may also see applications in other future telescopes. 


Stefan Ströbele
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6323
Email: sstroebe@eso.org

Elise Vernet
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6322
Email: evernet@eso.org 

Bárbara Ferreira
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
Email: pio@eso.org 

Richard Palomo
CILAS adaptive optics sales manager
Tel: +33 442369715
Email: palomo@cilas.com 

O zprávě



CILAS’s deformable mirror prototype
CILAS’s deformable mirror prototype