The so-called dark energy is one of the biggest mysteries of astronomy. According to a theory by the US astrophysicist Michael S. Turner, it counteracts the effects of gravity, thereby causing an accelerated expansion of the universe. While this expansion has meanwhile been proven – the researchers involved were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2011 – no experiments have as yet confirmed Turner’s dark energy hypothesis. At the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam/Germany, researchers are now trying to find proof of the anti-gravitational force. Using measurement data obtained by the Hobby-Eberly telescope in Texas, they determine the position and speed of galaxies, gathering evidence for the existence of dark energy. EUROMICRON is part of this exciting project. As a provider of OWG connection systems, EUROMICRON manufactured aperture masks for optical fiber ducts, which connect the telescope with the astronomical measuring instruments. A total of 33,600 optical fibers is used. Their exact and regular layout determines the precision of the measurements.
After a three-month coordination and development phase, EUROMICRON was able to deliver the aperture masks exactly according to the specifications. Following a pre-defined grid, 440 mechanical bores between 128 and 170 micrometres in size were drilled onto each nine-by-nine-millimetre mask. A specifically designed machine program ensured the precision of the bores and the exact adherence to the grid specifications.