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ARQUIMEA, a technology company operating in highly demanding sectors worldwide, has won the international tender for the industrialisation of the cameras for the medium-sized telescopes (MST) of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observatory, to be located on the island of La Palma, Canary Islands. The company announces the award of this project at the Big Science Business Forum event in which it is participating and which will be held in Granada from 4 to 7 October.
The cameras are one of the key components of this project, as they will allow high-energy radiation to be detected with high precision and ten times the sensitivity of the existing Cherenkov telescopes.
The industrialisation of the first four cameras for the medium-sized telescopes will take place in Torrejón de Ardoz from the end of 2022 and is scheduled for completion during 2023. These complex systems measure 9 m2, weigh 2.2 tonnes and will be suspended above the 12 m-diameter, 16 m-focal length telescopes. ARQUIMEA is responsible for the manufacture, assembly, integration and testing to ensure successful delivery.
Once the cameras have been completed and passed the test phase, they will be delivered to CEA Paris Saclay in France for final integration, assigned to the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), which is heading the production of the observatory’s medium-sized telescopes.
ARQUIMEA has a strong track record in the CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) project, having built the three cameras for the Observatory’s large-sized telescopes (LST) over the past two years. These cameras were manufactured in close collaboration with the Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT), for the Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute.
“At ARQUIMEA we help scientists develop and industrialise their technology and projects with our engineering and manufacturing facilities and capabilities” stresses Emilio Ramiro, Business Development Director of the Science Industry Division at ARQUIMEA.
The industrialisation and validation process for this type of camera, which is in itself very thorough, also aims to make improvements in the design of the prototype and to reduce manufacturing lead times and costs, while always complying with the observatory’s operational needs and the most demanding quality and safety standards.
ARQUIMEA boasts decades of experience in the industrialisation of complex equipment used in scientific applications. Among its clients are the leading international research centres in astrophysics, particle physics and fusion energy, including the IAC, CIEMAT, CTA, INTA, CAB and CERN, among others. The company operates state-of-the-art facilities to undertake these projects.
The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) observatory is a global initiative to build the largest, most powerful gamma ray observatory in the world with more than 1,400 scientists and engineers from 25 countries taking part.
The observatory will consist of more than 100 telescopes spread over two areas. The northern hemisphere network will be located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory belonging to the Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute (IAC) in La Palma, Spain. The southern hemisphere network will be located in Chile, in the Atacama desert.
The observatory will have three types of telescope to measure the different energies originating from gamma rays: the larger 23 m-diameter LST, the medium-sized 12 m-diameter MST and the smaller 6 m-diameter SST, dedicated to capturing the higher energy radiation.
The cameras are a key part of the telescopes. The medium-sized telescopes (MST) have a 12 m-diameter parabolic reflective surface, supported by a tubular structure made of reinforced carbon fibre and steel tubes. The reflective surface, composed of a hundred hexagonal mirrors, collects the Cherenkov light and focuses it into the telescope’s camera, where photomultiplier tubes convert the light into electric signals that will be processed by dedicated electronics to gather key information on very high-energy physical phenomena occurring in the extreme universe for study and analysis.