NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- S2.05-7969 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 024030 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Optical Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lightweight Active Nanolaminate Mirror with Wireless Shape Control

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Xinetics Inc.
37 MacArthur Ave
Devens , MA   01432 - 5022
(978 ) 772 - 0352

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Maureen Mulvihill
37 MacArthur Ave
Devens , MA   01432 - 5022
(978 ) 772 - 0352

For future NASA Cosmic Journey missions to study the Structure and Evolution of the Universe, telescope mirror apertures from 10 to 100m are desired. To achieve the large apertures, standard telescope designs containing heavy optical components that are time consuming and expensive to fabricate are obsolete. The current thrust is the use of polymer membranes and PVDF piezoelectric films that offer the potential to build mirrors in excess of 10m with areal densities below 1-kg/m2. However, these programs offer a challenge to design, materials and optical engineers to achieve a mirror that holds the optical surface within the required tolerances. The membrane approach is subject to thermally induced distortions, does not provide the necessary in-plane stiffness to mitigate distortions, and still requires wires/cables for actuator addressing. Xinetics proposes the Lightweight Active Nanolaminate Mirror with E-beam Shape Control. The thick-film nanolaminate has a greater in-plane stiffness than the polymer membranes and thus can maintain greater optical tolerances. The active discrete actuator laminate will be driven by an e-beam flux; thus making it wireless. This technology will enable a new class of optical structures for space that are lightweight, dimensionally stable, resistant to space environmental effects, inexpensive and rapidly manufactured.

From the proposed technology, two routes to commercialization will be pursued. The first is the wireless micropositioners and the second is light weight optical systems. The wireless micropositioners can be used when lightweight or restricted spaces are necessary. Since the wires and power electronic are unnecessary, no space is required to house them. The wireless actuators can be also used to control the optical surface on large aperture lightweight mirrors for surveillance telescopes enabling large diameter apertures reaching 100m. The surveillance community needs ultra-lightweight, large aperture optical systems that will provide low scatter, diffraction limited imaging in a space environment. Telescopes designed as proposed will be low cost, rapid to manufacture and stowable.

The proposed large active mirror technology is potentially the most innovative single advance that the space telescope community has seen since its inception in the early seventies. A wireless active mirror controlled by an electron beam has never been built. NASA will have technology that can be used on many Structures and Evolution of the Universe and Origins missions where large aperture 1- to 100m observatories while maintaing low areal densities 1.0 kg/m2. Active mirrors controlled using e-beam matrix addressing completely eliminates the need for individual addressing wires and cables, eliminates the need for high power electronics, and mitigates the power dissipation associated with electrical control. This technology will reduce the mirror weight while still providing low scatter, diffraction limited imaging in a space environment.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10