Modern astronomy is struggling with the same problems as the first celestial explorers did centuries ago. The stars shine only faintly, and the further away the star, the less light hits the Earth. This issue can only be addressed by focusing the light – in other words, the telescopes keep getting larger. Today's technology is so advanced that dealing with the ever-growing scale of telescopes is relatively simple. However, giant telescopes with stationary lenses are inflexible. Hence flexible solutions are increasingly being used, specifically the mirrors are becoming thin and adjustable and the objective lens itself is designed through individual components to be movable. Micro-drives are used to adjust the optics in order to minimise material variances, gravitational distortion or refraction fluctuations of the atmosphere. The focus is on miniature drives with backlash-free gears and long-term reliability.
Not every scientist can afford a giant telescope. On the other hand, anyone can develop ingenious ideas. Therefore, data from telescopes is becoming increasingly accessible to all interested scientists around the world. China has also been contributing to the "collection of knowledge" – with LAMOST (Large Sky Area Multi-Optic Fibre Spectroscopy Telescope). Technically speaking, the principle of the telescope is very well established, based on the ideas of the Schmidt telescope. In this case, the collected photons are transferred over 4,000 individual optical fibres to the spectral analysis system. For the precise setup of the fibres, the engineers have relied on the expertise of the Swiss manufacturer FAULHABER PRECISTEP SA.