The Institute has a buffer optical bench, 1,5 x 2,5 m, placed in a room ready to perform experiments of high precision optics. The laboratory also has the required equipment to perform optical experiments such as calibrating and characterizing CCD detectors, and determining the spectral answer of devices ranging from 300 up to 1.100 nm. There is also a calibrated photodiode that allows verifying and calibrating optical filters.
A solid state (Nd:YAG) and a diode laser source together with the required elements (acoustic-optic modulators, piezo actuators, polarising optics) to set up precision metrology experiments.
A thermally controlled vacuum tank allows to suppress environment fluctuations in the low frequency regime, i.e. down to 1 mHz. Inside the tank, an ultra-stable optical bench allows metrology measurements with nanometre sensitivity. This setup is routinely used to characterize materials used in space applications (like Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Plastics) and opto-electronics equipment (like photodiodes or optical fibres) in a high stability environment.
The engineering model of the LISA Pathfinder Data Management Unit (DMU) is used for on-ground testing of the experiments taking place in the satellite, but it is also available for experiments that could benefit from its performance. Moreover, as part of its functionality it provides high stability temperature measurements, reaching 1e-5 K/sqrt(Hz) at 1mHz. This facility is able not only to screen the environmental fluctuations, but to generate controlled perturbations to characterize equipment in a measuring environment relevant for space applications. The technologies to be tested in this low-frequency test bed are of wide application in space technology.