Alpao’s technology at the service of an American observatory

This new project will strongly support our turnover ambition and it confirms once again the excellence of Alpao in the design, production and support service of bespoke, large and reliable deformable mirrors in automotive applications. ‘astronomy. » Piero Bruno is the sales and marketing director of Alpao, created in Montbonnot-Saint-Martin in 2008, which currently has around forty employees.

Telescope in Hawaii

A high-tech company, Alpao is positioned as the world leader in adaptive optics systems by designing a range of deformable mirrors, wavefront sensors as well as tailor-made systems in the field of space, astronomy, quantum and optical communications, ophthalmology, microscopy or laser applications.

Last July, the Grenoble-based company entered into a partnership with the American observatory WMKeck in order to improve the performance of a 10-meter optical and infrared telescope, located at the summit of Maunakea on the island of Hawaii.

This close collaboration with the scientists of the WM Keck Observatory, Sam Ragland and Peter Wizinowich, will allow us to go faster, to strengthen our position as world leader in adaptive optics. We already have a unique position thanks to our deformable mirror production unit with more than 3,000 actuators, in Montbonnot, which will be further strengthened. »


This project, called Haka (High order All-sky Keck Adaptive optics),includes the design, production, testing and delivery of a large deformable mirror, based on Alpao’s patented electromagnetic technology. This equipment should make it possible to advance the techniques used to correct the blurring of astronomical images caused by turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Used in combination with the next-generation science instruments being developed for Keck, this upgrade will enable exciting science such as direct imaging of dozens of never-before-seen exoplanets, characterization of their atmospheres, and measurement of their dynamic masses, says Sam Ragland, Senior Adaptive Optics Systems Scientist at the WM Keck Observatory.

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