Middlefield, CT--Zygo Corporation's (Nasdaq:ZIGO) Optical Systems Division has been awarded an order to manufacture a series of high-precision optics for the European Advanced Virgo project. Advanced Virgo is an upgrade to the existing Virgo gravitational-wave interferometer in Cascina, Italy, designed to boost the sensitivity by an order of magnitude, which will allow it to measure gravitational waves of cosmic origin in a volume of the Universe 1000 times larger than Virgo.
The Laboratoire des Materiaux Avances (LMA) selected Zygo as the key -- and only -- supplier of optics for Advanced Virgo, according to Raffaelle Flaminio, the LMA's director, who is responsible for the procurement of Virgo optics. The decision was based on Zygo's track record in manufacturing these types of high-end optics, as well as their expertise in subnanometer-level metrology, he noted.
The Virgo optics will be manufactured in Zygo's Precision Optics and Extreme Precision Optics groups in Middlefield, CT and Richmond, CA.
The LMA is a USR (Unite de Service et de Recherche n degrees 3264) from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France). The laboratory specializes in the study, the realization (several deposition systems), and the characterization (optical and mechanical means) of thin films realized by several vacuum-deposition processes (CVD, PVD). The LMA is involved both in the Franco-Italian program VIRGO (VIRGO mirrors realized by the LMA) and in the American program Advanced LIGO.