NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Optics Manufacturing and Metrology for Telescopes
PROPOSAL TITLE:Programmable Relaxor Open-loop Mirrors Using Imaging Spatial Encoder (PROMISE)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Xinetics Inc.
115 Jackson Rd
Devens, MA 01434-4027
(978) 772-0352

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Shoko   Yoshikawa
115 Jackson Rd
Devens, MA  01434-4027
(978) 772-0352

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Future advanced telescopes require active mirror compensation without the complexity of real-time adaptive control. Current wavefront correctors, while dimensionally stable, require closed loop control using a wavefront sensor and complicated electronics to maintain mirror shape. For space based systems, simplified open loop control is desirable since it reduces power and weight while greatly improving system reliability by reducing complexity and electronic parts count. Xinetics proposes a Programmable Relaxor Open-Loop Mirror using Integrated Spatial Encoders (PROMISE) that combines surface parallel actuation and micro optical encoders. The programmable relaxor open-loop mirror uses a surface parallel actuator array, made using ferroelectric micromachining originally developed for silicon based MEMS. The programmable actuator array enables the dimensionally stability and angstrom level control provided only by relaxor ferroelectrics, as has been demonstrated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The integrated spatial encoder features an optical encoder that monitors dimensional change and is integrated directly between the actuator array and the surface mount interconnect. The voltage output of the optical encoder is used as a direct input to the feedback loop for the actuator circuit enabling electroactive control of the mirror surface without the necessity of an optical sensor, thereby enabling open loop control.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Surface parallel actuated deformable mirrors capable of open loop control offer a greatly simplified approach to future NASA adaptive optics programs for both ground based and large (20m) space telescopes. The proposed device maintains the large scale integration feature of Xinetics' Photonex mirrors while enhancing the stroke response and enabling open loop control. The system complexity and resultant processing are greatly reduced while improving the dynamic range of high density deformable mirrors. This also overcomes the problems of optical quality, dimensional stability, and bandwidth associated with present MEMS devices while retaining the fabrication methods developed for MEMS. Open loop control significantly reduces the complexity, cost, and weight of using adaptive optics in space while greatly enhancing mission assurance. Given the development go ahead, PROMISE could be applied to primary, secondary and tertiary optics as well as in the instrumentation.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
These types of mirrors hold great promise in extending adaptive optics to a wider community including amateur astronomers. Also, imaging, laser propagation, and laser control would all be able to use these mirrors, since they don't suffer from the MEMS limitation of little or no coating compatibility. Immediate application would be within the Airborne Laser program, where weight and control are critical. Solid state laser development could use these mirrors inside the resonator cavity with great success. Also, commercial applications in the ophthalmic market already are beginning to use deformable mirrors to aid in research into the properties of the human eye.

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.

Optical & Photonic Materials

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19