Edmund Optics announces winner of the Norman Edmund Inspiration Award

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Edmund Optics has announced that Dr Craig Mackay, Professor of Image Science in the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in the UK, has been awarded the 2013 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award. Dr Mackay and his research team are building a new instrument for ground-based optical telescopes that will produce higher resolution images than those captured from space telescopes. The award commemorates the contributions made by Norman Edmund to the science of optics.

The Cambridge instrument will deliver much higher angular resolution using 5 to 10m class telescopes to deliver diffraction limited imaging in the visible. Using the Lucky Imaging technique, the sharpest images are selected and made even sharper by using a new lower-order curvature wavefront sensor. This works by using an optical assembly that allows simultaneous imaging of near-pupil images on either side of a pupil to reconstruct the wavefront and drive the deformable mirror to deliver the corrections. Mackay and his team have already achieved images about three times the angular resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. Their goal is to develop the instrument so that it may be put on the largest telescope in the world - the 10.5m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) on the Canary Islands.

Marisa Edmund, vice president of marketing and communications at Edmund Optics,  remarked: ‘Professor Mackay's project is a significant evolution in the field of adaptive optics and will help to lower the costs of high resolution imagery by not having to launch equipment into space’.  

The recipient of the Norman Edmund Inspiration award is chosen from the first-, second-, and third-place prize recipients in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, who best embodies the legacy of Mr Edmund. Dr Mackay is the first-place recipient of €7,000 in Edmund Optics products in 2013 Higher Education Global Grant Programme.

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