The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) has developed since June 2014 an optical laboratory that comprises all the activities and facilities related to the research and development of new instruments in the following areas: telescope design, high dynamic and high resolution imaging systems and spectrographs. The facilities include ZEMAX and Solidwork software for design and simulation activities as well as an optical room with all the equipment required to develop optical setup with cutting-edge performance.
The current projects include: i) the development of a focal reducer for the 2.3 m Thai National Telescope (TNT), ii) the development of the Evanescent Wave Coronagraph dedicated to the high contrast observations of star close environment and iii) the development of low resolution spectrographs for the Thai National Telescope and for the 0.7 m telescopes of NARIT regional observatories. In each project, our activities start from the instrument optical and mechanical design to the simulation of the performance, the development of the prototype and finally to the final system integration, alignment and tests. Most of the mechanical parts are manufactured by using the facilities of NARIT precision mechanical workshop that includes a 3-axis Computer Numerical Control (CNC) to machine the mechanical structures and a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) to verify the dimensions.
In this paper, we give an overview of the optical laboratory activities and of the associated facilities. We also describe the objective of the current projects, present the specifications and the design of the instruments and establish the status of development and we present our future plans.