In early March 2016, VON ARDENNE has received a substantial order from the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for a magnetron sputter system. It will be used to coat the mirrors of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST*). Thus, VON ARDENNE has prevailed against some established competitors and won the AURA tender with the best offer.
The observatory is currently under construction on the Cerro Pachón mountain in northern Chile. The mirror telescope will feature a primary mirror with a diameter of 8.4 meters, a secondary mirror and a tertiary mirror (5 and 3.4 meters in diameter). This optical arrangement will enable a comparatively wide field of view. The telescope, in combination with the largest digital camera ever constructed, will be able to record the entire visible sky in just three nights. As the telescope will continuously take pictures, even the slightest changes in the position or brightness of astronomical objects can be analyzed over a long period of time.
Highly reflective telescope mirrors are vital for research in astronomy. In order to achieve a high reflectivity, the mirrors will be coated on their front side with an ultra-thin metal layer by means of a vacuum deposition process. VON ARDENNE will provide the necessary special equipment and technologies.
VON ARDENNE is a leading manufacturer of coating equipment for large-area applications, for instance in the architectural glass or solar industry. Thanks to that, the company has acquired decades of experience in the vacuum processes and technologies that are necessary for such a project. Therefore, VON ARDENNE is well positioned to provide excellent systems for the coating of telescope mirrors.