News and highlights

Collaboration with Yunnan Astronomical Observatory

The IAI-NIAOT(China) partnership (see news below) now including collaboration with Yunnan Astronomical Observatory in Kunming. OptoLab.iAi will participate to the preliminary development of the Chinese Giant Solar Telescope (CGST), designed to have a 8-m ring aperture primary mirror.

Artist's view of the CGST
Optolab.iAi contracted by ESO to provide a novel calibration system for precision hexapods

The secondary mirror supports of the VLTI auxiliary telescope systems (ATS) of the ESO (European Southern Observatory) Paranal Observatory are constituted by precision hexapods which may need to be recalibrated after maintenance operations.

A novel measuring system for precision XY measurements based on industrial USB cameras has been developed at the IAI adn will be provided to ESO. The system can as well be used for concurrent X,Y,Rx,Ry and Z measurements and is accurate and stable within 1-2 micron, which happens to be perfectly adequate and compatible with the ATS hexapod specification. ... more details ...

Jules-Verne, a nanosat lunar orbiter

This concept is being studied as a candidate post-SwissCube academic project.
It consists of a 15 kg nano-spacecraft with:

  • 3-axes stabilization
  • Propulsion stage: Δv ~ 2000 m/s
  • Deep space communication (1M km)
  • Mass 15 kg:
    • payload 5 kg, candidate instruments are being considered,
    • propulsion system 3 kg,
    • propellant 7 kg

Once launched into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) it will proceed to reach lunar orbit on its own propulsion.

IAI - NIAOT (China) partnership

Within the framework of the Sino-Swiss Scientific Technical Cooperation agreement (SSSTC), and following a call for proposals of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER), an Institutional Partnership has been approved between IAI (for the HEIG-VD) and Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology, which is the main chinese organisation in the development of astronomical telescopes and instrumentation.

A grant of 36'000 CHF is provided by SER to this partnership, named SSIPAI - Sino-Swiss Institutional Partnership on Astrophysics Instrumentation. An exchange programme is planned until mid 2011, with reciprocal visits to present our respective projects and interest areas. This is done in view of preparing and proposing joint projects and R&D collaborations in the areas of high-precision opto-mechanics and system engineering for astrophisics instruments.

SwissCube images being analyzed at OptoLab.iAi.

SwissCube Almost 1,5 years after launch, SwissCube could finally be stabilized and started sensing its first images.

SwissCube has been launched on september 23rd 2009 at 8h21 MET. It was then deployed 20 minutes later. The first spacecraft 100% «SwissMade» has been developed and built by students of several Western Switzerland universities and engineering schools, coordinated by their respective instutes and managed by EPFL Space Center.

The SwissCube scientific mission is to perform space-based observations of the airglow occurring in the upper atmosphere at an altitude of about 100 km. This light radiation is emitted at a wavelength of 762 nm around the Earth. Two subsystems were mainly developed at the HEIG-VD:

Know-how and projects

Opto-mechatronic and systems engineering
  • Development, design and prototyping of high-precision opto-mechatronics systems, integrating optics, photonics, precision mechanics, electronics and software.
  • Inter- and pluridisciplinary applied science and engineering covering in particular the fields of optics, photonics, mechatronics, precision motion, embedded systems, structures, thermal analysis, environmental modeling and impact problems simulation, measurements and tests.
  • Pluridisciplinary projects involving a mix of technologies and applied sciences: optomechatronics, computer programming, motion control, fine mechanics, optics, atmospheric phenomena, thermal control.
“End-to-end” models of complex systems
  • Simulation and mathematical modeling of designs, processes and physical phenomena
  • Scientific and technical software applications
Recent projects



Prof. Lorenzo Zago
Institut d'Automatisation Industrielle
Haute Ecole d'Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud
Route de Cheseaux 1
CH-1401 Yverdon-les-Bains
Phone: +41 (0)24 557 63 30

Page last modified on 08 January 2012 à 14h57