NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-S3.03-7433 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 035574)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:High Contrast Astrophysical Imaging
PROPOSAL TITLE:Advanced Actuator Concepts for High Precision Deformable Mirrors

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TRS Technologies, Inc.
2820 East College Ave., Suite J
State College ,PA 16801 - 7548
(814) 238 - 7485

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Paul W Rehrig
2820 East College Ave., Suite J
State College ,PA  16801 -7548
(814) 238 - 7485
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TRS Technologies proposes to develop a variety of single crystal actuators for adaptive optics deformable mirrors. Single crystal piezoelectric actuators are proposed as a means of increasing actuator authority while maintaining strain precision for adaptive optics deformable mirrors used in future space observatory missions. Single crystals based on PZN-PT or PMN-PT represent a revolutionary advance in piezoelectric actuator technology. These materials exhibit 5 to 10 times the strain of conventional ceramic piezoelectrics with equivalent deliverable force. Therefore, they offer a much broader design space for adaptive optics systems than is currently available with ceramic actuators, electric motors or magnetic devices. The attributes of single crystals relevant to adaptive optics include: piezoelectric coefficients > 2000 pm/V and field induced strains > 0.5%, blocking forces equivalent to conventional piezoelectric and electrostrictive ceramic, very low strain-electric field hysteresis for high strain precision, much broader operating temperature range than electrostrictive PMN ceramic, very good cryogenic performance, and very high transverse piezoelectric coefficients (d32 better than -1600 pm/V). In the Phase I program TRS will measure the performance of both stack and flextensional-type actuators and SRS will model the impact of incorporating such actuators into state-of-the-art deformable mirror designs.

Upon completion of the Phase II effort, TRS Ceramics and SRS will have developed the technology needed to produce single crystal actuators and adaptive membrane mirrors. These actuators will serve as the active piezoelectric component in adaptive optics for space-based telescopes. The unique opportunity offered by single crystal actuators is the order of magnitude higher strains achievable with single crystals compared to conventional piezoelectrics. Single crystal piezoelectrics thus have the strain capabilities of shape memory alloys with all the advantages of normal piezoelectric ceramics (i.e. high force capability and high drive frequencies).

Commercial applications for the single crystal based actuators include adaptive optics for directed energy, telescope, communications, and other optical applications. Use of single crystal actuators is not limited to optics applications, and many of the techniques developed in this program can be used for more general single crystal actuation products. TRS will be using additional government funding as well as private investment to develop single crystals for such diverse markets as vibration control, ultrasonic transducers, precision positioner and navy sonar applications.