OPTICON, the EC-funded Optical Infrared Coordination Network for Astronomy organises a three day workshop at the CSIC Brussels' Office

CSIC Office in Brussels, April 20-22, 2020

We are pleased to announce a three-day workshop of the EC-funded OPTICON<https://www.astro-opticon.org/> network on the development of technologies to acquire the light from thousands of targets simultaneously, as it is planned for the 2020s and future generations of multi-object spectrographs (MOS). Massive spectroscopic surveys are essential to advance astrophysics and cosmology. They can address new fundamental knowledge, ranging from a complete understanding of the formation of the Milky Way to probing the nature of the mysterious dark energy. The technology required to enable large spectroscopic surveys is one of the most challenging in astronomical instrumentation: instruments need to be accurate, with micrometer positioning accuracy and repeatability; fast, to minimize overheads; robust, to minimize failure; and low cost. In recent years, new mechatronic devices have been developed to place thousands of high-throughput optical fibres at any given position on the focal plane. Other technologies subject to current R&D involve micro-mirror and micro-shutter arrays, programmable slit masks and, with increasing importance, photonics technologies (e.g., multi-core fibres, photonic lanterns, multiplexers, arrayed waveguide gratings).

This event will provide an excellent opportunity to bring together experts from different areas and groups with the goal to:

– Present current and future MOS instruments and facilities.
– Discuss and share innovative ideas for the design and development of new MOS instrumentation.
– Identify the key enabling technologies that will require active industrial development.
– Recognise new techniques and manufacturing capabilities in the market.
– Examine optimal target acquisition and positioning methods and algorithms.
– Review unbiased estimators to account for MOS assignment strategies.


Europe has shown emergent leadership in all these domains, and this focused meeting will enhance and improve collaboration among all actors, from science users to industry. These techniques have led to enormous activity in recent years (e.g., the WEAVE, DESI, 4MOST, PFS and MOONS spectrographs), and work is underway on advanced designs for the next generation of MOS instruments, from dedicated 10-12m class facilities (e.g. MSE, SpecTel) to MOSAIC, the multi-object spectrograph on the ELT.

By involving a wide range of European instrumentation groups and industrial partners with demonstrated leadership in the field, as well as representatives from MOS projects worldwide, this multidisciplinary OPTICON Workshop will ensure that feedback from the science users of MOS instruments helps to shape next-generation facilities.

The workshop will comprise invited and contributed talks. Invited review talks will help set the scene, and will include more technical presentations on MOS systems for facilities currently under construction and development. We welcome contributions on, e.g., novel ideas, designs, developments, and results from currently built MOS facilities—including talks on ‘lessons learned’ from technology groups and science users. Industrial partners are encouraged to present their technical and manufacturing capabilities, as a key element in the development of future MOS instrumentation.

Registration is now open and available at the conference website:

The meeting has no registration fee.

Key dates
January 13: First announcement
March 13: Abstract submission deadline
April 1: Closing of registration (or when maximum capacity is reached)
April 20-22: Workshop

Scientific Organising Committee:
Jean-Gabriel Cuby (LAM, France)
Bianca Garilli  (INAF, Italy)
Vanessa Hill (Nice, France)
Andreas Kelz (AIP, Germany)
Francisco Prada (CSIC, Spain)
Suzanne Ramsay (ESO)
Ruben Sanchez-Janssen (UK ATC, UK)

SOC Chairs: Francisco Prada  (f.prada@csic.es<mailto:f.prada@csic.es>) and Rubén Sánchez-Janssen  (ruben.sanchez-janssen@stfc.ac.uk<mailto:ruben.sanchez-janssen@stfc.ac.uk>).

Venue: CSIC Office in Brussels (https://www.d-bruselas.csic.es/en/)

Audience size: 80 (max)

Organisers: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC, Spain; https://www.csic.es) & Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC, UK; https://stfc.ukri.org)

Sponsors: OPTICON and CSIC

This event will promote diversity and non-discrimination in all its forms: gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, and career status.

Leave a comment