Ah rain! A salve for our sore eyes, and balm for the land. Last week Sue, James and I were discussing the great benefits of tea time. As February is generally the month the School starts to become whole again after the summer break we would like to institute, from this year onwards, “Free Feb” to ease people back into the pleasure of tea time. We’d like to encourage you get out of your office and to reconnect, inspire and generally shoot the breeze with your colleagues. During “Free Feb”, all tea and coffee amenities in your Dept or in the main Oliphant Tea Room are free – including biscuits.
This week’s pic comes from A/Prof Steve Madden who easily convinced me a few years back to put our hands up for some excellent optical coating facilities being gifted to a good home by CSIRO. Under the expertise at CSIRO much of this equipment was directly involved in the coating developments for the test masses used in LIGO. The rest is history and this amazing facility is now operational in the School. The tool is a Veeco Spector Ion Beam Sputtering machine modified with a custom chamber door. It can take substrates up to 45cm diameter and deposit metal oxide and nitride film stacks of up to 3 materials with uniformity <0.1% across the whole 45cm aperture under full computer control. Currently there are targets to coat silica, tantala, alumina, hafnia, titania, indium tin oxide (conductive) and tantalum nitride. There is a four wavelength ellipsometer for active process control that provides for thickness accuracies <1nm and a white light spectroscopic monitor also. The machine is one of only two in the world "certified" for producing LIGO optics and was used to manufacture the coatings for the beamsplitters and power recycling optics currently in use at LIGO. It produces coatings with sub 10ppm absorption and >99.995% reflectivity mirrors. If you have any ideas for projects please collar Steve.
My thanks to the technical staff in the central workshops, School Facilities and LPC who helped to install this unique capability. We are exceedingly grateful to CSIRO for their gift of expertise and equipment. Shown in the photo (left to right) is Bertrand Delaet, Steve Madden, Kunlun Yan and Johannes Eichholz
Have a great week,