We are delighted to have been further involved with the Dark Energy Survey (DES), this time making the cast Invar parts.

Having previously worked with developing the Dark Energy Camera for the DES, creating the ring that holds the lens in place, the team knew they could rely on us to deliver the highly accurate work needed.

Invar partsInvar parts

We cast the parts using Invar, due to its high level of durability and stability.

Unlike other materials, this nickel/iron composition is able to maintain its shape between temperatures of -100°C & 260°C, making it ideal for a range of applications where accuracy is key, including clock pendulums, measuring devices, aerospace engineering, microscopes and telescopes.

In fact, one of Invar’s original uses was in clock pendulums. When it was first invented, the pendulum clock was the world’s most precise way of telling the time, however accuracy was limited due to the possible thermal variations in pendulums. In 1839, Clemens Riefler invented the first clock to use an Invar pendulum and its unprecedented accuracy (10 milliseconds per day) meant it served as the primary time standard for national time services until the 1930s!

What is the Dark Energy Survey?

Completed this year, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) was an ambitious international project which scanned approximately one quarter of the Southern skies (a 5,000 square degree area) in depth, mapping hundreds of galaxies in an attempt to understand ‘dark energy’.

A specialist 520-megapixel camera mounted on a four meter telescope at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile recorded data from more than 300 million galaxies over a six year period from 2013 – 2019.

Now scientists are going about the huge task of analysing the vast amounts of data to learn more about never-before-seen distant galaxies.

So far, DES has already released exciting scientific results, including the most precise measurement of dark matter structure in the universe and new discoveries such as dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way and the most distant supernova ever detected.