We are proud to have been the manufacturer and supplier of the lens ring for the Dark Energy Survey.
“The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is an international, collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies, detect thousands of supernovae, and find patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of our Universe. DES began searching the Southern skies on August 31, 2013.
Over five years (2013-2018), the DES collaboration is using 525 nights of observation to carry out a deep, wide-area survey to record information from 300 million galaxies that are billions of light-years from Earth. The survey is imaging 5000 square degrees of the southern sky in five optical filters to obtain detailed information about each galaxy. A fraction of the survey time is used to observe smaller patches of sky roughly once a week to discover and study thousands of supernovae and other astrophysical transients.”
We were approached by the team involved to cast the ring to hold the lens due to our experience in precision and quality casting of large objects. The accuracy level of this project was highly demanding, as the impact of fractions of mms movement of the lens would impact hugely on the results of galaxies viewed at such distances.
We worked closely with the team to understand the requirements for the material composition, which was a specially blended alloy free from residual elements to give a cleaner alloy
. Our manufacturing processes took into account an oxygen-free annealing environment since the heat treatment is critical to ensuring the correct TEC and we consulted with the team throughout our full proof-machining, pattern and casting process. We then carried out rigorous MPI and x-ray tests on the ring, along with analysis of heat-treatment charts and chemical composition reports, to ensure the absolute certainty of quality for the lens ring for the dark energy survey.