Minute Boreholes with a great importance


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At the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, scientists are investigating the properties of what are termed “dark energies” in the universe. As part of that, they are trying to measure distant galaxies – a task that requires high-precision telescopes. EUROMICRON Werkzeuge GmbH developed and produced aperture masks that minimize tolerances in the instrument used.

Dark energy appears to act counter to gravity and is speeding up the rate at which the university expands. That was the finding that won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics. Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam are now investigating the phenomenon. As part of that, they are measuring the positions and speeds of galaxies with the 10 meter high Hobby-Eberly Telescope in Texas. It is optically connected to an astronomic instrument consisting of 75 high-performance spectrographs. The  connection is implemented using a fiber-topic bundle with a total of 33,600 optical fibers. Precise and regular arrangement of the individual optical fibers is vital to the instrument’s precision. This is ensured by aperture  masks developed by EUROMICRON Werkzeuge GmbH. Joint development of them with the Leibniz Institute took almost three months.

Specialists are needed

The result is nine-by-nine millimeter aperture masks that each have 440 boreholes in a specific grid. The specifications for their production are created in a specially developed machine program. The holes are  extremely small – between 128 μ and 170 μ. “However, we could drill them as small as 50 μ,” explains Managing Director Schahier El-Garrahi. “Such a thin drill is barely visible to the naked eye. We can drill a hole in a hair with it.” EUROMICRON Werkzeuge GmbH has proven its qualifications for scientific projects on many occasions with special orders in the field of precision lathing, drilling and milling. “We’re well- known for such special  applications; we have a true unique selling point here.”

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