NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S2.05-9744
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Optics Manufacturing and Metrology for Telescope Optical Surfaces
PROPOSAL TITLE: The Affordable Pre-Finishing of Silicon Carbide for Optical Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Creare, Inc.
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH 03755 - 3116
(603) 643-3800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jay Rozzi
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH 03755 - 3116
(603) 640-2367

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Creare proposes to develop a novel, laser-assisted, pre-finishing process for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) coated silicon-carbide ceramics. Our innovation will enable the affordable single-point turning of CVD silicon carbide from a near-net shape blank to a pre-finished aspheric optic. We will use our extensive experience and expertise in the advanced machining of ceramics to establish the parameter space for the production of high-quality, pre-finished aspheric optics from near-net shape blanks. Our innovation has a material removal rate (MRR) that is two orders of magnitude higher than current pre-finishing options including diamond grinding, ductile-regime machining, reactive atom plasma processing, or standard laser micromachining. In addition, our approach has demonstrated that these high MRRs can be achieved with no surface or sub-surface damage, which is key to minimizing the cost of the subsequent finishing operation. Our novel solution is readily integrated with existing or new ultra-precision machine tools. Thus, our innovation is effective, affordable, and flexible.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Large aperture, lightweight, optical mirror technologies are critical for the future of telescopes to explore the solar system and beyond. CVD silicon carbide has been shown to be a viable alternative for lightweight mirrors; however, cost-effective manufacturing techniques to pre-finish this material have not been developed in parallel. The pre-finishing process prepares the net-shape blank for final optical finishing. The use of our innovation can substantially reduce the cost of these optics and enable the increased functionality of new and existing platforms. The results of our work will have far-reaching benefits for government aircraft and military systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Cost-effectively manufacturing super-hard ceramics has always been the primary barrier to commercial acceptance of this advanced material technology. For many applications, ceramic materials offer significant advantages over other options, but their cost precludes their consideration in design. Effective and affordable manufacturing processes are required to render ceramics as a viable design option. For silicon carbide, our innovation will enable the machining of this material to a high quality and with an intricate shape. Thus, we will enable a paradigm shift in the machining of super-hard optical ceramics, along with the concomitant decrease in processing costs. This will increase the market for such materials in commercial aircraft, automobiles, cutting tools, artificial joints, and various other applications.

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 Generated on 09-18-07 17:50