Facility and innovation
A large part of Thales SESO is dedicated to production with 4 500 m² including 400m² of cleanrooms. One of Thales SESO strongest point is the diversity and quality of its production equipment. The technology keeps evolving and Thales SESO follows this trend. We are constantly investing in new machines and new technologies. Here are some examples.
High resolution and wavelength shifting interferometer with collimated beam up to 600 mm.
The wavelength shift gives us the possibility to control both parallel flat surfaces at the same time. It allows the measurement of the wave front error, flatness, parallelisms and homogeneity simultaneously for large optics at a high resolution and very fast pace.
Ion Beam Profiling (IBP)
With this IBP process, we can generate arbitrary mirror shapes through the collision of accelerated ions with target atoms. Thales SESO has developed specific protocols which proved particularly suited to profile X-ray mirror.
It is a deterministic method with a high convergence rate (therefore time-saving), it does not require contact when performed (useful for lightweight or ultra-thin substrates) and it allows exotic shapes.
We are operating a magnetron sputtering chamber of 2m of diameter. It was developed in partnership with OCA (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur). This technology produces a coating with a higher density than classical evaporation.
It means a better adhesion to the substrate, better optical properties and improved resistance to harsh environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, scratch, …)
Evaporation Coating Chamber
Thales SESO invested in an evaporation coating chamber that can accommodate large optics. It is used for all types of evaporated coatings (reflective, AR, semi reflective and dichroic filters) and is PC monitored for fully automated processes.
Homogeneity is optimized for its large size and high distance between sources and substrates. It is equipped with a lift arm able to handle and load such large and heavy parts (500kg) in a safe way.
This robot can polish large size optics by locally correcting the surface errors measured by interferometry with a great accuracy.
The singularity of this machine is to constantly renew the polishing fluid to keep a good repeatability and precision. It’s one of the largest of its kind and only a few countries in the world have this capability.
This brand new, fully automated, 5 axis milling machine has the particularity to transmit the ultra-sound vibrations to the milling/grinding tool to improve the efficiency of the process.
It’s boosting the time required for the shaping of the optics as well as the lightweighting. Since we don’t have to apply as much pressure on the machined part, the minimum wall thickness can be decreased.
Double side polishing
It’s one of the largest double side polishing machine in the world, custom made for Thales SESO. It can polish 5 components of 700mm diameter each at the same time with a roughness as low as 3Ȧ and a slope error below 1µrad.
With this fully automated machine, we can polish a large number of parallel face optics with a high quality in a minimum time.
Thales developed and patented an innovative design of active mirrors in partnership with the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM).
The optical part is bent by pushing on its 12 arms instead of pushing in the back of the optical surface and creating push through marks. It can go up to the 7th order of the Zernik polynomials to correct for misalignment, thermo-elastic deformation, gravity effect.
Bimorph mirrors for X-Ray
Thales SESO has been a pioneer in the field of deformable mirrors and is keeping a leading role in the fabrication of very compact adaptive x-ray mirrors based on the properties of piezoelectric ceramics.
This new patented last generation bimorph can be equipped with 32 electrodes and used as a wavefront corrective device.
Stress Polishing Process
This method developed in partnership with the “Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille” (LAM) gives us the possibility to directly polish an aspherical mirror as a spherical mirror by applying a stress on the optical part. It gets back to an aspherical shape when the stress is released.
The polishing process becomes much faster and several mirrors could be polished at the same time.