part of a four-year collaborative project investigating
ultra precision surfaces, Cranfield University has
acquired a reactive atom plasma figuring system.
The system, developed by RAPT Industries in the
USA, will play a key role in improving the speed
of manufacture of the ultra-precise optics which
interlock to produce the large telescopic mirrors
used to look for Earth-like planets near to far-away
Paul Shore, Professor of Ultra Precision Technologies,
said: "In precision production engineering
terms, the manufacture of segments for the next generation
of large telescope designs is probably the most significant
precision engineering challenge we have seen. The
aim is to produce ultra-precision surfaces at 10
times the accuracy and with ten times greater speed
than we are currently able to do.
new machine uses a plasma torch to remove atoms
from the surface of an optic to give it its correct
surface shape. And this process is one of those
identified as being useful in speeding up the manufacture
of ultra precision optics."
The university hopes that, once the system has been
used in fundamental studies, it can set about building
a much bigger version.
"Essentially, we are linking ultra-precision research
at Cranfield with plasma physics to allow us to develop
better techniques for making ultra-precision surfaces," continued
As part of the bigger project, Cranfield University
professors Paul Shore, Dave Stephenson and John Nicholls,
together with University College London and OpTIC
Technium, are set to establish a unique UK national
facility in North Wales for making large optics.
further information about the Ultra Precision Surfaces
Project, please contact Angelisa Conby, Press & Publications
Officer E: email@example.com T:
Ultra Precision Research at Cranfield University
Cranfield's precision engineering research activities
include a significant amount of ultra-precision technology
development in regard to fabrication technologies
and novel precision machine systems.
Ultra-precision machining facilities include a range
of diamond turning and grinding machines, including
high-performance machines built at Cranfield and
recently purchased commercial systems.
Cranfield's long-established Ultra Precision Machining
Laboratory, one of the most advanced in the world,
houses the UK's large X-ray optics fabrication facility
as well as a number of state-of-the-art metrology
systems for surface form and texture evaluation.
Cranfield is heavily involved in developing complex
surfaces, including making ultra-precise components
for space science missions and instruments, such
as for the James Webb Space Telescope.
New high-performance machining facilities are also
being developed, including high-performance large
optics fabrications systems based on advanced machine
National High Temperature Surface Engineering Centre
at Cranfield University
The centre has an international reputation for excellence
in research into novel high-temperature corrosion
protection coatings, thermal barrier coatings and
coating systems to resist erosive wear.
Cranfield has extensive facilities for PVD, CVD
coating and plasma spray (LVPS) coating of high temperature
components and has the only university facilities
in Europe to deposit EBPVD thermal barrier coatings
onto turbine blades.