NPF: Mirror development in Chile

Sebastián Zúñiga-Fernández, Amelia Bayo, Johan Olofsson, Leslie Pedrero, Claudio Lobos, Elias Rozas, Nicolás Soto, Matthias Schreiber, Pedro Escárate, Christian Romero, Hayk Hakobyan, Jorge Cuadra, Cristopher Rozas, John D. Monnier, Stefan Kraus, Mike J. Ireland, Pedro Mardones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the era of high-angular resolution astronomical instrumentation, where long and very long baseline interferometers (constituted by many, ∼20 or more, telescopes) are expected to work not only in the millimeter and submillimeter domain, but also at near and mid infrared wavelengths (experiments such as the Planet Formation Imager, PFI, see Monnier et al. 2018 for an update on its design); any promising strategy to alleviate the costs of the individual telescopes involved needs to be explored. In a recent collaboration between engineers, experimental physicists and astronomers in Valparaiso, Chile, we are gaining expertise in the production of light carbon fiber polymer reinforced mirrors. The working principle consists in replicating a glass, or other substrate, mandrel surface with the mirrored adequate curvature, surface characteristics and general shape. Once the carbon fiber base has hardened, previous studies have shown that it can be coated (aluminum) using standard coating processes/techniques designed for glass-based mirrors. The resulting surface quality is highly dependent on the temperature and humidity control among other variables. Current efforts are focused on improving the smoothness of the resulting surfaces to meet near/mid infrared specifications, overcoming, among others, possible deteriorations derived from the replication process. In a second step, at the validation and quality control stage, the mirrors are characterized using simple/traditional tools like spherometers (down to micron precision), but also an optical bench with a Shack-Hartman wavefront sensor. This research line is developed in parallel with a more classical glass-based approach, and in both cases we are prototyping at the small scale of few tens of cms. We here present our progress on these two approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VII
EditorsHeather K. Marshall, Jason Spyromilio
ISBN (Electronic)9781510619531
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VII 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: 10 Jun 201815 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VII 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • carbon fiber mirror
  • glass based mirror
  • mirror development
  • planet formation imager


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