Our Payload Lab is the place to start the design and implement new instrumentation for groundbased and spaceborne observatories. These are often electronics in frequency bands from millihertz up to microwave frequencies. The laboratory is equipped with very stable low frequency (mHz) and microwave equipment (GHz): signal generators, spectrum analyzers and high-speed oscilloscopes.
Once the payload is ready, its performance is validated in the Integration Lab, where our designs can be integrated with other third-party modules into major systems. These can be characterized in mid and long-term measurements. A special mention deserves our highly stable temperature-controlled cabin, where temperature is kept stable within 5 mK. This singular infrastructure allows our institute to develop instrumentation for the LISA mission.
This lab is devoted to the development and testing of new equipment, either hardware or software, for ground-based telescopes and related facilities. The Astronomy Laboratory is also designed to be used in outreach and teaching activities.
5m Baader Planetarium AllSky dome
Meade 10" LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope
SBIG ST-7 CCD camera
Vaisala PTU200 term-hygrometer
APC AP7920 Rack PDU
Optec filter wheel
Particle counts, temperature and humidity are monitored and registered 24/7 in our two clean rooms. Clean Room 1 is an ISO 7 category facility, a multipurpose space mainly devoted to hardware manipulation according to ECSS quality standards and long term storage of Engineering Models and Flight hardware. It is equipped with a laminar flux cabinet that ensures ISO 5 conditions within its working space. This laboratory is also equipped with a six axes metrological arm to characterize mechanical systems with a 20 micro-meter precision.
Microscopy Clean Room
The Microscopy laboratory is an ISO 8 category clean room. Its main purpose is to manipulate and study space returned samples and meteorite samples. It is equipped with a Microscope ZEISS Axio Scope A1 that is fully automatized to build high-resolution mosaics of thin and thick sections of extraterrestrial materials in reflected and transmitted light mode. The laboratory is also equipped with binocular magnifiers, step-by-step heaters and weight scales. It is a key lab to characterize new meteorites recovered or found accross the world.
Our Optical Lab is equipped with instrumentation for high precision characterization of optical systems. The quality of optical assemblies and elements up to a diameter of 6” can be characterized with our Zygo interferometer and our Nikon autocollimator. To perform precision metrology measurements, we have several laser sources (Nd:YAG) and a buffered optical bench (size: 1,5 x 2,5 m). A thermally controlled vacuum tank also allows suppressing environment fluctuations in the low frequency regime, i.e. down to 1 mHz and it is routinely employed 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. We are also able to calibrate and characterize CCD, and determine optical the spectral responses in the 300 nm - 1.100 nm range.
The Radiation Laboratory is devoted to characterise radiation detectors based on a semiconductor material such as Cadmium Zinc Telluride (Cd(Zn)Te) or Silicon (Si) useful for High Energy Astrophysics experiments, although it can also be used for other research areas profiting from the available instrumentation. The available equipment allows performing spectroscopy measurements at room and low temperature in the X and Gamma-ray range (from tens of keVs to 1-2 MeV). The Laboratory is a 3rd category radioactive facility authorized by the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council with the number IRA-3137.