Optical tracking interferometry microscope

Optolab.IAI, within a joint R&D effort managed by the Biozentrum of Basle University and involving Institute of Condensed Matter Physics of EPFL and the startup company Ninart, is developing and building the prototype of a novel optical tracking interferometry microscope. This may be seen as a variant of photonic force microscope. The current phase of the project is sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
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Neutron beam collimator

Conceptual design of collimating jaws for a neutron beam experiment. The collimating jaws mechanism shall operate in a large cylindrical vacuum tank.

In our design baseline the four jaws sets are guided perpendicularly to the main longitudinal axis by four linear guides. There are four main “bars” on which the pairs of jaws are mounted. Two “bars” are positioned in the X axis, the other ones in the Y-axis. These “bars” are fixed close to their center on the linear guides.

Electrical and mechanical end-stops limit the linear motion and secure the system. The linear guides can be actuated by different means. In this baseline concept, actuation is performed by four linear actuators placed besides each linear guide. In that case the actuators (Physik-Instrumente N-111-3A) include their own sensors which provide nanometer resolution in closed loop. Electrical and mechanical end stops are placed in the concept for secure the system.


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 principally developed by the HEIG-VD students:

Link to the SwissCube site


Based on the same technology as developed to build deformable secondary mirrors for large telescopes, a new type of deformable mirror is being developed, actuated with voice coil type actuators.

Its capabilities will allow correction of atmospheric turbulence for the 5 main Zernike modes (piston, tip, tilt, focus and astigmatism) in typical implementation in scientific instruments. An original type of capacitive position sensors has been developed.

This model is a 5-DoF systems actuated by contactless voice coils and controlled in closed loop by a novel type of capacitive sensor.

Download a paper describing this novel adaptive optics mirror.


CAD view of the PRIMA Differential Delay Line

The Differential Delay Line (DDL) is a complex optomechanical device and a key component of the PRIMA instrument that has been built to search extra-solar planets with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer of ESO at Paranal Observatory.

We provide the system engineering and integration support to a consortium including, among others, the Observatory of Geneva, EPFL and the Max Plank Institute for Astronomy.

In 2006 the final design review was achieved and the DDL, after being tested at the Observatory of Geneva, was integrated in 2008.

Click here for a description of the PRIMA-DDL project

Page last modified on 29 November 2010 à 15h37