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Centre for Advanced Instrumentation


The Centre for Advanced Instrumentation has a wide range of facilities for the design and construction of state of the art instrumentation at two seperate sites in County Durham

Department of Physics

  • 5 optical laboratories with floating optical benches
  • Fibre preparation laboratory
  • Videoconferencing and audio-visual facilities
  • Electronic and mechanical workshop facilities

Logitech LP50

  • Fibre preparation laboratory

  • Specialist facilities for preparation of optical fibre systems
  • Logitech LP50 Auto Precision Lapping & Polishing Machine
  • Seiko OFL-15 Programmable Multi Function Polisher

NETPark Research Institute

Located at NETPark, near Sedgefield, 8 miles from Durham, the NETPark Research Institute is home to CfAI's largest laboratories and facilities

  • Precision optics manufacturing

  • Free-form diamond machining, milling and grinding of precision surfaces to nanometer accuracy
  • Two Moore Nanotechnology 350FG five axis ultra-precision machines
  • Two Moore Nanotechnology 250 three axis ultra-precision machines
  • High speed micro-milling
  • High speed micro-grinding
  • Fast and slow tool servo machining
  • Raster flycutting
  • Machining of complex, faceted, aspheric, toroidal, prismatic and diffractive optical surfaces

For further details, please follow the link to Precision Optics Manufacturing

  • Precision optics metrology

  • Three TriOptics FISBA µPhase phase shifting interferometers for optical surface form measurement
  • Zygo NewView 5000 white light phase shifting interferometer for surface roughness measurement to nanometer accuracy
  • TriOptics Shack Hartmann wavefront sensor
  • Taylor Hobson Talysurf CLA non-contact confocal surface profiler
  • Taylor Hobson Talysurf PGI contact surface profiler
  • Keyence digital microscope
  • Mitutoyo coordinate measuring machine
  • FARO coordinate measuring arm

For further details, please follow the link to Precision Optics Manufacturing

  • Large assembly, integration and test laboratory

  • Dimensions: 24m x 10m x 6m with 3m x 3m access doors
  • 5 tonne overhead gantry crane
  • Scissor lift with 8m working height
  • 1.6 tonne electric pedestrian pallet stacker
  • Two large class 100,000 clean tents
  • Large optical table: 5m x 2m
  • Large scale flexure facility

  • Flexure testing of large scale instrumentation
  • Weight limit: 5 tonnes
  • Rotator diameter: 2.5m
  • Environmental chamber

  • 3m x 3m x 3m working volume
  • Temperature range: -25°C to +40°C
  • Automated temperature control
  • Dry air purge to prevent frosting and condensation
  • Lift-off roof panel to allow overhead crane access
  • Cryogenic test chambers

  • Chamber 1:
  • 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m working volume
  • Two optical benches: 1.5m x 1.5m (working temperature 80K) and 0.3m x 0.3m (working temperature 30K)
  • Liquid nitrogen pre-cool
  • Chamber 2:
  • 0.5m x 0.5m x 0.3m working volume
  • Working temperature 30K
  • Liquid nitrogen pre-cool
  • Located inside Class 100 cleanroom
  • Suitable for the cryogenic characterisation of space instrumentation
  • Chamber 3:
  • 0.5m diameter x 0.5m tall working volume
  • Working temperature 30K
  • Optical laboratory

  • Two optical tables: 3m x 1.5m and 2.5m x 1.5m
  • Air conditioned


  • Clean room

  • Class 100 clean room divided into two separate areas: 5.4m x 4.8m and 3m x 2.4m
  • Separate cleaning area with pass-though hatch, washing facilities and ultrasonic bath
  • Separate entrance lobby with lockers and step-over bench
  • Optical table and cryogenic test chamber
  • Temperature and humidity control