The Optical Department develops optical systems for telescopes and astronomical instruments for use both in the visible spectrum and the infrared. Staff working in the Department are experienced in the specification, design, assembly, integration and verification of optical systems. They are also skilled at designing and characterising astronomic instruments with fibre optics.
Staff at the Department have access to the Optical Coating Laboratory and the Optical Laboratory, a general purpose facility equipped with an interferometer, a spectrophotometer, two monochromators and a range of optical and cryogenic apparatus. They also have the benefit of a Fibre Optics Laboratory and the new Large Instrument Integration Room, both of which are managed by Production. In addition there are specialised software applications for designing and evaluating optical systems (Code V, Glad, GSolver, TracePro, Zemax, LensView), designing coatings (TFCALC) and simulating atmospheric effects on an image formation system (Skylight) as well as the usual work stations and personal computers.