What services does the Optics Laboratory offer?

Although tasks requested for ESA projects are generally given priority the Optics Laboratory offers services for other European space programmes and companies, including SMEs, (although not in competition with commercial laboratories) that meet the criteria described below.

A candidate customer can request a quotation to perform a test by contacting Laboratory manager Dominic Doyle (contact details below). To qualify, the candidate customer (or end customer they are acting for) must be a person or body under the jurisdiction of an ESA Member State. The project in question must correspond to standard ESA Directorate of Technical and Quality Management research and development, and have a peaceful purpose.

The Optics Laboratory has the following measurement capabilities:

  • White light interferometric microscopy for the determination of nanometer scale (optical and material) surface characteristics (macroscopic and microscopic) such as topography, profilometry and roughness. Microscope system magnifications from 50x, with a Michelson objective (over an area of 2.8 x 2.1 mm with lateral resolution of 4.8 microns), up to 800x, with a Mirau objective, are possible (with a lateral resolution of 0.73 microns over an area of 0.18 x 0.13 mm).
  • Two large aperture (max. 100mm diameter) interferometers which can for instance measure the wavefront error or Modulation Transfer Function of optical components and optical systems for both plane and spherical surfaces.
  • Visual inspection microscopy of surfaces using bright field, dark field and phase-contrast Nomarski techniques
  • Angular resolved scatterometry (BRDF) (0.01 degree angular resolution, optical dynamic range: 13 decades) for multiple wavelengths (UV-IR).
  • Spectrometric reflectance and transmittance (specular and diffuse) in the range of 250-2500nm, using a modular and customizable setup based on a 1m focal length monochromator.
  • Absolute and relative radiometry (also solar simulator irradiance calibration)
  • Thin film and coating reflectometry (400-1000 nanometres) for optical design analysis.
  • Determination of optical and geometrical parameters of optical components and systems, e.g. focal length, refractive index, radius of curvature, angle, position, dimensions, etc.
  • Radiation effects on optics, in cooperation with the ESTEC Components and Materials divisions and the Space Environment and Effects Section.
  • Modulation Transfer Function/Point Spread Function (MSF/PSF) testing by using a large aperture (40cm) optical collimator.
  • Power, intensity, and spectral output distributions of lasers and other optical sources.
  • Optical tests under vacuum using small size vacuum chamber.


Dominic Doyle, Dminic.Doyle @ esa.int

Last update: 24 September 2009

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