Prototype telescopes, such as the one above, were designed, built, and tested for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) system.

Optical Engineering

We develop optical system prototypes for airborne, space-borne, and terrestrial applications. Our staff are involved in all stages of system development, from concept design to fabrication, integration, alignment, environmental testing, and fielding prototypes. We collaborate on projects with engineers from many other disciplines across the Laboratory. Projects we have pursued include satellite-based passive imaging sensors, space-based and ground-based laser communications systems, airborne laser radars, high energy laser systems, and imaging systems on both manned and unmanned aircraft. We also conduct research on ideas generated by the group, for example, freeform optics, computational imaging, membrane optics, and micro-optical systems.

Featured Projects

TESS's cameras, which will monitor planets passing in front of stars, were designed and built by Lincoln Laboratory engineers. Illustration: Chester Beals
A new planet hunter will spend the next two years searching for exoplanets, including those that could support life.