From laboratory to space applications, Micromega Dynamics offers high-precision mechanism concepts to meet its clients’ requirements.
Micromega Dynamics is your partner for the design of shape control force actuators, Nano positioning systems and isolation platforms. Based on your specifications (force, accuracy, power dissipation, allowed space etc.), we design and manufacture dedicated actuators based on proven actuator concepts. Our actuators can be driven in closed-loop based on internal (or external) sensors such as high accuracy force sensors (0.02%FS), proximity or vibration sensors. The local embedded control electronics running the innovative control laws (decentralised approach) and continuously monitoring the actuator operation can also be used to communicate with our client controller or monitor either through a CAN network or a TCP/IP link.
We are able to design mechanisms that achieve a high level of integration of mechanics and electronics. Furthermore, by using rugged electronics and local control algorithms, our mechatronic devices operate reliably in harsh environments. Performance analysis on prototypes is used to qualify our mechanisms before deploying the devices on site.
Development of telescope mirror shaping actuators for our partner Amos in Belgium
AMOS is specialised in the design and manufacture of very high-precision opto-mechanical systems for the space industry as well as professional astronomy.
Amos wished to position itself on the adaptive telescope market. To achieve this, it was on the lookout for a cutting-edge business partner specialised in high-precision mechatronics. As we are both a Belgian company, our geographical location greatly facilitated this collaboration between two local companies. Amos has since been calling upon the services of Micromega Dynamics for over 10 years to help meet its needs and overcome its challenges. We are currently working on our fifth telescope.
Our secret is to work hand in hand with our partner, ensuring as much interaction with the Amos technicians as possible in order to optimise the best cost-performance ratio of each project.
Mirror Shaping Actuators
It is impossible to observe outer space through a telescope with a deformed mirror. How can you ensure high-precision positioning and compensate for any deformation? This is the task that was entrusted to Micromega Dynamics for a future telescope in Turkey.
At Micromega Dynamics, we feel at ease in applications where there is vibration present. Specialising in structural control, we also develop high-precision mechanisms for scientific applications. These mechatronic devices are used in particular for measuring and actively controlling the vibrations and the form of large ground-based telescopes. We have equipped the primary mirror of the future DAG telescope, which will be inaugurated in 2020 in the Turkish mountains.
The stakes are high. The mirror measures 4 m in diameter, it is made of glass and the slightest deformation would without doubt distort the data collected by astronomers. Consequently, its shape must remain constant within a few nanometres, after every movement and in all environmental conditions, such as gravity, wind and temperature variations – there will be a combination of all of these where the telescope will be installed at an altitude of 3,000 m.
A rigid primary mirror would have been 50 cm thick and 40 tons. The selected mirror is 16cm thick and weighs 13 tons, which is much less, but still enormous. Preventing its deformation under its own weight is a real challenge.
In order to achieve this, we installed 44 actuators on the rear side of the mirror, each of them generating a force of 100 kg with a precision of 30g. They dissipate less than 1.6 W, as heat produced by electricity also distorts data. Each actuator is comprised of a pneumatic power generator controlled by high-speed piezoelectric valves, a high-precision force sensor (0.03 %) and control electronics capable of manoeuvring the whole unit and communicating with the telescope’s control programme. Since each actuator is factory calibrated, it can be replaced in its entirety. This implies full integration of the control electronics in the actuator.