Thermal analysis is an important aspect of optomechanical engineering, because it is a part of the structural, thermal, optical (STOP) analysis that helps ensure a system's performance. High performance optical systems always have important thermal requirements that range from an infrared sensor whose focal plane array must be 50 Kelvin to a high power laser that must dissipate heat quickly. Some optical systems want a short time constant to rapidly settle from the change in environment. Others want a long time constant for thermal stability. No matter what the optical system needs, the design always starts in thermal analysis.
Thermal analysis is easy, fast, and low cost, but ultimately the quality of a thermal system is determined by test. Our thermal engineers can design and implement test procedures for requirements verification, thermal balance testing, model correlation, development testing, or a plethora of other objectives.
"One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
-Wernher von Braun
Aspects of an optical system must be designed to meet thermal requirements. That is where thermal design comes into the picture. A system's insulation must be sized to get the system to passively reach the desired temperature. Heat transfer modes must be established that minimize thermal gradients. Even thermal time constants have to be tailored, so that the athermalization structure changes temperature at the same rate and isothermality is maintained during transients. There is little room for error in optomechanical design and thermal engineering design certainly cannot be ignored.