This is where our Optical Coatings Expert and Chief Alchemist Bill Brown does his magic. The jars contain various metals (mainly Aluminums and Silvers) that are used to put a front surface coating on the mirrored elements that are used in Astronomy. The tanks pictured on the right are for small optics.
In order to coat larger optics, the Coatings Group has been working on a larger tank that is capable of coating optics up to 46" in diameter. This tank will be used to coat the optics being developed for the Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC) and is located in the UCO/Lick Optics Lab. In the future, it will be used to coat (and re-coat) optics of various sizes for both Lick and Keck observatories. Click here to read more. Here are some recent photos of the tank and the team that worked on it. It is currently in the research and development phase. Recently, we have been experimenting with magnesium fluoride coatings. We are also developing spin-coating techniques.
In order to better pursue our Coatings research and development, we have set up a cleanroom in the Optics Lab to guarantee maximum quality of coatings.
The 120" mirror of the Shane telescope (Mount Hamilton) is coated on site in a chamber that was once a cyclotron at Berkeley. Tech facilities and Mt. Hamilton staff combined forces recently to re-aluminize the primary mirror.
In March and April of 2007, the Coatings Lab cleaned, stripped, and re-coated the mirrors of the great 36" telescope at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA. We chronicled this process, and hope to use the excellent reflective coating we developed for other such projects!
The 40" primary mirror of the Nickel Telescope at Lick has also undergone coating recently. Here are photos of the new coating, and of the recently-recoated Hamilton collimator.