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we succeeded in starting test of vacuum vapor deposition equipment for TAO (Φ6.5m)

The 6.5m primary mirror vacuum vapor deposition equipment
at the University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory(TAO) was successfully completed.
We conducted assembly work and start-up tests in Japan from January to April 2020,
and confirmed that it is possible to form a coat of aluminum that can be used as a telescope.

The TAO project is a plan to construct the world's
highest level infrared telescope with a diameter of 6.5 m
on the summit of Chanantor in the Atacama Highlands
in northern Chile.
When using a telescope, the mirror surface gradually
becomes dirty.
Therefore, it is necessary to peel off and deposit
aluminum again,
but the primary mirror has a diameter of 6.5 m,
and it is difficult to carry it out of the facility.
Therefore, it is necessary to install the vapor deposition
equipment inside the observatory.

Therefore, in 2018, we made a contract with the University
of Tokyo to manufacture the vacuum deposition equipment
mentioned above.
Since the chamber is very large,
it took more than a year to complete the production.
After that, we assembled the chamber and
peripherals and started the equipment in Japan.
Peripheral equipment was brought into the test site in
January, and the chamber arrived in early February.
After that, the assembly work took about one month,
and the start-up test started around the beginning of March.
After that, we made fine adjustments to various devices while conducting repeated start-up tests,
and were able to successfully complete the start-up test in Japan.
(Performance evaluation was performed based on the sample deposited in April 2020, and it passed.)


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