On November 11, 2016, the Bureau of Facility Support and Budget, Chinese Academy of Sciences, hosted a conference to mark the successful completion of the ‘Development of a Large-Scale High-Precision Diffraction Grating Ruling System’ project, one of the National R&D Projects for Key Scientific Instruments, at the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOMP).
Diffraction gratings and the way in which they are constructed with ridges or “rulings” are a vital component of any tool that needs to separate different wavelengths of light with high resolution. At the conference, an expert group listened to a number of reports describing the project’s success: a work report, applications of the project, a testing report, and a financial audit. An investigation of the equipment and its operation followed, before concluding with a final review of the relevant materials. After this inquiry and vigorous discussion, the expert group unanimously agreed that the project had been a success.
CIOMP is the birthplace of grating design and construction in China. As early as 1958, CIOMP developed the first machine to manufacture grating rulings, as well as the first grating. The gratings were used in spectral devices for the first atomic bomb test in China. The pace of development of large-scale, high-precision gratings had restricted the fuller development of related fields in China. Therefore, in 2008, with the support of the Chinese Ministry of Finance and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CIOMP took on the challenging task of developing advanced grating systems.
The project’s objectives were to develop grating ruling technology that surpassed global standards. It therefore encountered many challenges, such as high index requirements, complex key technology, interdisciplinary differences and large workloads. However, CIOMP rose to the challenge and used its unique technical superiority to resolve 18 key technologies and produce nine innovative achievements. In eight years, CIOMP successfully developed the world’s largest echelle (a type of diffraction grating) with a ruling area (ridged area) of 400 mm by 500 mm.
The completion of this National R&D Project for Key Scientific Instruments project shows the strength of China’s science and technology capabilities in three areas. First, it demonstrated that precision machining technology in China has reached an advanced international level. Second, it showed that China is able to manufacture large-scale echelles to a global standard. Third, it paved the way for China to take advantage of technologies that use large-scale and high-precision gratings.
Participants in the conference marking the completion of the ‘Development of a Large-Scale High-Precision Diffraction Grating Ruling System’ project(Image by CIOMP)
The large-scale, high-precision diffraction grating ruling system in the laboratory(Image by CIOMP)
The manufactured echelle with the ruling area (ridged area) of 400 mm x 500 mm(Image by CIOMP)
Associate professor YU Haili