This specific equipment will allow to carry out tests in cryogenics and high vacuum conditions of large electro-opto-mechanical systems. The first instrument that will benefit from this infrastructure will be HARMONI, the optical spectrograph / IR developed by ESO as first light instrument for the future Extremely Large European Telescope (ELT). The ELT will greatly expand knowledge in different areas of astrophysics.
The development of large telescopes and their instrumentation represent a clear opportunity for high-tech companies in Spain. The dimensions of the cryogenic instruments for large telescopes (e.g. HARMONI) far exceed the infrastructures available in the IAC for cryogenic tests.
This cryostat will provide the IAC with an adequate infrastructure to carry out R & D activities linked to the instrumentation for the next generation of large telescopes.
HARMONI is one of the three ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) first light scientific instruments. It is a visible and near-infrared (0.47 to 2.45 µm) integral field spectrograph, providing the ELT's core spectroscopic capability, over a range of resolving powers from R (≡λ/Δλ) ~4000 to R~20000.