Wavefront error measurement of the concave ellipsoidal mirrors of the METIS coronagraph on ESA Solar Orbiter mission
The paper describes the alignment technique developed for the wavefront error measurement of ellipsoidal mirrors presenting a central hole. The achievement of a good alignment with a classic setup at the finite conjugates when mirrors are uncoated cannot be based on the identification and materialization at naked eye of the retro-reflected spot by the mirror under test as the intensity of the retro-reflected spot results to be ≈1E-3 of the intensity of the injected laser beam of the interferometer. We present the technique developed for the achievement of an accurate alignment in the setup at the finite conjugate even in condition of low intensity based on the use of an autocollimator adjustable in focus position and a small polished flat surface on the rear side of the mirror. The technique for the alignment has successfully been used for the optical test of the concave ellipsoidal mirrors of the METIS coronagraph of the ESA Solar Orbiter mission. The presented method results to be advantageous in terms of precision and of time saving also when the mirrors are reflective coated and integrated into their mechanical hardware.