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SFOS Project – metrology-driven advances in laser-fusion Optics


The University of Huddersfield’s Laboratory for Ultra Precision Surfaces is collaborating on a pioneering international project aimed at revolutionising green energy solutions through advanced metrological techniques. The Super-polished Freeforms Optics Systems (SFOS) project is spearheaded by Zeeko Ltd, a UK firm renowned for its expertise in ultra-precision polishing technology.

With a consortium funding of €3.6m, the SFOS project focuses on the development of nano-scale-accurate, super-smooth freeform optics. These advanced optics are critical for enhancing the efficiency of laser-fusion systems, a route to safe energy generation without hazardous waste.

The precision required for the SFOS project extends beyond traditional manufacturing capabilities. At the heart of the project is the challenge of achieving metrological excellence on complex freeform surfaces. These surfaces must meet stringent specifications for surface roughness and figure accuracy, essential for optimising the performance of high-power laser systems used in nuclear fusion.

The lab is part of the University’s Centre for Precision Technologies and operates from Sci-Tech Daresbury, a hub for scientific and technological innovation.

“Achieving the necessary surface quality on freeform optics for high-power laser applications requires overcoming significant metrological challenges,” says Professor David Walker, “Current technology allows for high precision on simple surfaces but the SFOS project aims to extend these capabilities to freeforms with unparalleled accuracy and smoothness.”


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