NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Optics and Optical Telescopes (including X-ray, UV, Visual, IR)
PROPOSAL TITLE:Extreme-Precision MEMS Segmented Deformable Mirror

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Iris AO, Inc.
2680 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94704-1717
(510) 849-2375

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael    Helmbrecht
2680 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA  94704-1717
(510) 849-2375

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In Phase I research, Iris AO developed enhanced electromechanical models and calibration techniques for MEMS-based segmented deformable mirrors (DMs) applicable to a variety of high contrast astrophysical imagers. High-precision DMs with 1,000-1,000,000 actuators are critical for high-contrast systems. Non-MEMS DMs meet some NASA requirements, but require high actuation voltages, have low actuator densities, and do not scale readily beyond a few thousand actuators. MEMS DMs offer natural scalability, but do not yet meet the stringent precision and stability requirements for space telescopes. Prior to this Phase I work, very few researchers have focused on extremely precise characterization of MEMS DMs. Technical advances achieved in this Phase I improved open-loop positioning accuracy from nearly 100 nm rms to an impressive 8 nm rms. Stability measurements showed performance as good as 0.21-1.17 nm rms in an uncontrolled open-access laboratory over a 15-minute span. Including high-frequency noise sources not captured by Phase I optical measurement techniques but known to be present on the DM segments, this rises to 5.6 nm rms. Noise source analysis conducted in Phase I shows that stability to <0.2 nm rms is feasible. Phase II will implement the improvements necessary to attain <0.3 nm rms stability and resolution. These improvements include: 1) reducing known noise and drift sources identified in Phase I and tracking remaining measured but unknown noise sources; 2) increasing resolution to 0.14 nm rms through enhancements in drive electronics initiated in Phase I and optimizing the DM design to utilize the full dynamic range of the electronics; 3) improving optical quality of the Iris AO DM segments to 1-3 nm rms; 4) testing resolution and stability of the prototypes; 5) expanding reliability testing that started in Phase I and 6) investigate the effects of operating in vacuum.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Iris AO precision deformable mirror (DM) and adaptive optics (AO) technology is a key enabling component in a host of future NASA missions. These include various coronagraphic and spectrographic missions such as EPIC, ECLIPSE, SAFIR and TPF-C. Other NASA projects that would also benefit from Iris AO's deformable mirror technology are SPECS, the Stellar Imager and EASI. Furthermore, the technology is critical for the removal of aberrations caused by atmospheric turbulence required for all large ground based telescopes such as Palomar, Keck, and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT),

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed extreme precision adaptive optics (AO) technology could find immediate application in military communications and imaging products. The Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) both are interested in satellite AO. Systems used in military surveillance such as in the Predator drone and Global Hawk would benefit from the high-resolution, light weight, and low power consumption afforded by Iris AO's MEMS devices. The commercial market for lower precision AO systems is even larger. The strongest interest is biomedical instruments, most notably ophthalmic devices for retinal imaging and surgery. Recent research results show the dramatic improvements in retinal image quality attained with adaptive optics. AO is rapidly being viewed as a key enabling technology in early disease diagnosis and treatment. The overall ophthalmic instrument market exceeds $1 billion annually and the portion of this devoted to adaptive optics is estimated to be in excess of $60 million.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Biomedical and Life Support
Large Antennas and Telescopes
Optical & Photonic Materials
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials
Substrate Transfer Technology
Ultra-High Density/Low Power

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04