Systems
Scientific instrumentation
Rapid progress and rising ambitions in scientific instrumentation call for large quantities of ever-smaller and smarter mechanisms, encouraging CSEM to invest further in this field. This investment puts us in a position to meet coming demands in the fields of astrophysics, space exploration, and watchmaking, as well as meteorology and industrial instrumentation.

Our scientific instrumentation activity focuses on developing complex, multi-technology systems that involve significant physical layers. Our main goal is to further integrate CSEM’s competences in the design, simulation, development, and testing of complex, miniature, hybrid, precision systems. Their complexity—and the consequent need for CSEM’s broad expertise—is emphasized by significant miniaturization and limited available resources in terms of energy, computing power, and space.

Scientific instrumentation at CSEM is organized into the following topics: macro-MEMS, opto-mechatronic instruments, and time and frequency technologies. With macro-MEMS, we capitalize on our expertise in flextec technology to design silicon-based hybrid micro-precision mechanisms.  The smart combination of compliant mechanisms with MEMS technologies will pave the way for a new generation of precision mechatronic systems. These will not only involve the flexure stages—for linear or rotary degrees of freedom—they will also include actuators, sensors, fine mechanics, and control loops for fully integrated, operational systems.

The use of our opto-mechatronic instruments in space exploration and astrophysics has led to quantum leaps in performance compared to other existing systems. The resulting advantages include highly precise and reproducible movement patterns and dynamic motion, a far smaller number of movable parts enabling easier manufacture at lower cost, and the absence of friction and wear. This increases longevity and reduces maintenance requirements.

Within the field of time and frequency technologies, we are continuing our development of high-performance, miniature atomic clocks and are investing further in laser technologies such as stabilized continuous-wave and femtosecond mode-locked lasers.

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