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Design, Testing and Fabrication of Large Optics

The University of Arizona boasts the finest production facility for lightweight high power mirrors in the world. Mirrors produced at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab are the primariy mirrors for the Large Binocular Telescope, MMT, Magellan, and Vatican telescopes. The first Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) mirror has been completed, the LSST mirror is being polished, and subsequent GMT mirrors are in different stages of construction. 

The mirrors produced at the Mirror Lab represent a departure from the conventional solid glass design. Instead these mirrors are constructed in a honeycomb structure which allows the mirror to reach temperature equilibrium in a short period of time, crucial for achieving the best image quality at the focal plane.   Moreover, the polishing techniques admit deeply curved surfaces with far shorter focal lengths than other mirros, enabling the construction of smaller, more cost-efficient telescopes and telescope enclosures.

Faculty and Research Staff with a research interest in this area include:



(Bottom Right) The first of the seven mirrors that will ultimately make up the Giant Magellan Telescope being polished after its casting at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.