Safran Reosc to make all large mirrors for giant Apollon laser

Safran Reosc has signed a contract with French National Scientific Research Center CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) to make the high-performance light path mirrors for the Apollon laser being built by the CILEX interdisciplinary extreme light center, or Centre Interdisciplinaire Lumière Extrême. One of the largest and most powerful lasers in the world, Apollon will be operated by the high-power laser laboratory LULI (Laboratoire pour l'utilisation des lasers intenses), a joint establishment of CNRS, the École Polytechnique engineering school, UPMC and French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission CEA-EA.

Safran's participation in this program is the result of the relationship of mutual trust that it has formed with some of today's leading university labs and research centers. Safran Reosc's selection by CNRS and LULI to make these large mirrors follows the success of the three-year research program conducted by Safran Reosc along with several CNRS labs: Applied Optics (also grouping Ensta ParisTech and the École Polytechnique), Institut Fresnel (in collaboration with the École centrale de Marseille and Aix-Marseille University) and the laser, plasma and photonic processes lab (also including Aix-Marseille University). This research program developed new reflective coatings needed for the mirrors on the Apollon laser.

As François Mathieu, CNRS project manager, explains: " When the Apollon project was launched, these coatings for our mirrors were not yet available."

Safran Reosc CEO Philippe Rioufreyt added: "With these innovative developments for very-high-performance optics, the new mirrors for the Apollon laser represent a major step forward for our company, in terms of both production and the underlying science."

Safran Reosc will deliver all of these mirrors for Apollon through the end of the year, turning out over 60 in all: 34 medium angle mirrors, 23 large mirrors, a medium-size periscope, a large porthole and two large parabolas. All of these optics will be polished to within tolerances better than 100 nm (0.0001 mm).

Safran Reosc develops and produces high-performance optics for observation satellites, giant telescopes, high-energy lasers and the semiconductor industry. The company has already produced several hundred optical assemblies for LIL, the prototype line for the Megajoule laser developed by French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA-EA), along with metric class mirrors for large laser infrastructures used for defense or civilian applications.

Source: Safran S.A. (Paris: SAF.PA)
Date: Feb 6, 2017