Hind High Vacuum bags contract from Physical Research Lab

  • Industry News
  • Apr 05,22
Contract involves the manufacture and installation of a dedicated mirror coating plant for PRL’s upcoming 2.5-meter telescope
Hind High Vacuum bags contract from Physical Research Lab

Bangalore

Hind High Vacuum Co Pvt Ltd (HHV), one of the leading players in vacuum and thin film technology, has bagged a prestigious contract from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), a unit of Department of Space, Government of India, for the manufacture and installation of a dedicated mirror coating plant for PRL’s upcoming 2.5-meter telescope. This telescope is a part of the Mount Abu Observatory which is located at the Gurushikhar peak of Mount Abu, Rajasthan, at an altitude of about 5,600 ft above mean sea level. 

Known as the cradle of Space Sciences in India, PRL which was founded in 1947 by Dr Vikram Sarabhai, carries out fundamental research in selected areas of Physics, Space & Atmospheric Sciences, Astronomy, Astrophysics & Solar Physics, and Planetary & Geo-Sciences.

The mirrors of the telescopes are amongst the most important components for sensing radiations from distant sources. These need to be coated with a reflective thin film that aids efficient light collection. The reflective coatings are prone to environmental degradation which necessitates a re-coating. The existing coatings are stripped clean, and a fresh coating is then applied. These coatings are applied by vacuum deposition process to obtain the best properties in terms of reflectivity and durability. As the mirrors are sensitive, and one of the most expensive components in the telescope assembly, the coatings are carried out on-site. Thus, a vacuum coater is stationed on-site astronomical observatories for coating of the mirror at regular intervals.

“Astronomical telescopic mirrors coaters require a technologically advanced high vacuum equipment design, engineering, and manufacturing. HHV has been globally recognised as a trusted supplier for coaters for telescopic mirrors and has commissioned and demonstrated its coaters at various locations including demanding high altitudes going up to about 14,800 feet. The telescope mirrors size of up to 3700 mm diameter and weighing more than 4000 kg can be accommodated in HHV coating chambers with a maximum overall dimension of 4000 × 2100 mm. The coaters offer an automated and highly reliable process for coating mirrors with aluminium and/or silver based coatings," said Prasanth Sakhamuri, Managing Director, Hind High Vacuum.

He added, “HHV is proud to be the supplier of the coating plant for several organizations in India and across the world, such as the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP), Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), and Observatory of the Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow State University (Russian Federation).” 

Based on its track-record in the build of telescopic mirror coaters, and its proven competency in the design and development of optical coatings, HHV, in the last year, was short-listed by the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory (TIO), and India TMT Co-ordination Committee (ITCC) to develop the conceptual design of the coater for secondary and tertiary mirrors of their upcoming telescope. TMT is a joint venture between scientific institutions in Canada, China, India, Japan, and the US to build a 30 m diameter optical-infra-red telescope which will be one of the largest optical telescopes ever built.

HHV is currently executing an order from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Udaipur for the build of a mirror coater for handling mirrors of different sizes going up to a maximum of 700 mm diameter. This recent order from PRL re-emphasizes HHV’s technical competency in this niche area. HHV is continually taking up development activities in this area to integrate its coaters with proven process recipes for the deposition of highly reflective and durable thin film coating stacks and is looking forward to being a part of various such projects in the future.

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