About Rails and benches

- Oct 24, 2017-

An optical bench or optical rail is a simpler piece of hardware that provides a linear (or sometimes curved) track along which to mount optical elements. They are often used for simple experiments, especially for classroom demonstrations. Such rails are typically made of steel and designed to be very stiff, with features that allow holders for optical components to be bolted down and easily shifted along the length of the rail.

A more sophisticated example is the silicon carbide ceramic toroidal optical bench in the Gaia spacecraft , which supports several optical instruments.