NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 S2.03-8703
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Optical Systems and Fabrication/Testing/Control Technologies for EUV/Optical and IR Telescope
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Performance Consumer-Affordable Nanocomposite Mirrors with Supersmooth Surfaces, Precise Figuring, and Innovative 3D Printed Structures

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Lightweight Telescopes, Inc.
5469 Hound Hill Court
Columbia, MD 21045 - 2239
(410) 992-3914

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Peter Chen
5469 Hound Hill Court
Columbia, MD 21045 - 2239
(410) 992-3914

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Peter Chen
5469 Hound Hill Court
Columbia, MD 21045 - 2239
(410) 992-3914

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Advanced Optical Systems and Fabrication/Testing/Control Technologies for EUV/Optical and IR Telescope is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Lightweight Telescopes, Inc. (LWT) proposes to advance the TRL, demonstrate performance, and initiate commercialization of nanocomposite optics technology (NCOT). This new technology is based on carbon nanotubes (CNT), assorted powders and fibers, polymers, and proprietary processes to craft precisely shaped and supersmooth UVOIR optical surfaces. The fabrication of optical quality mirrors based on CNTs embedded in an epoxy matrix (CNT/E) has already been demonstrated1 and is being patented by LWT. It is proposed that, with the infusion of advanced numerical modeling and state-of-the-art 3D printing techniques, NCOT can become an enabling technology for future space telescopes (and missions) by virtue of its many unprecedented capabilities. NCOT, unlike other space optics, is truly low cost in that the mirrors are affordable to consumers. Additional capabilities include rapid fabrication, supersmooth surfaces, multiple identical units, very large apertures, low density material, 'smart' optics, smart structures, athermal telescopes, and in situ fabrication of very large aperture (Deca- and Hexa-meter class) optics on the ground and in space. This proposal seeks to advance development of nanocomposite optics technology by augmenting LWT's proven techniques and processes with better tooling and test equipment, numerical design of novel structures that maximize stiffness/mass ratio, and 3D printing assisted fabrication. Specific objectives of this Phase I proposal are to design and fabricate state-of-the-art 25 cm mirrors, and to fabricate, field test, and commercialize 15 cm mirror telescopes.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Nanocomposite optics technology has across-the-board application to future NASA missions. Development of low cost, high performance optics with large areas is the key component listed in all NASA Technology Roadmaps. The total number of potential NASA applications, ranging from sub-meter class rocket and balloon experiments to decameter class astrophysics missions (e.g TPF and beyond), is likely to be very large. One example is the current call for Large, low-cost, light-weight precision monolithic mirrors for Ultra-Stable Large Aperture UV/Visible/Near-IR Telescopes in the Cosmic Origins Program Annual Technology Report
The large area, supersmooth surface capability of nanocomposite mirrors also makes them suited for missions other than UVOIR. For example, the Physics of the Cosmos Program Annual Technology Report calls for Affordable, lightweight X-ray optics with 5 arcsec resolution.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This proposal has a connection to manufacturing. The technology in its present state of development is almost market ready. Potential commercial applications include the following:
1. Thin 10-25 cm aperture deformable mirrors with supersmooth continuous surfaces, for DoD and ground-based astronomical observatories
2. 15-50 cm 'Moondust' (CNT/E+JSC1A-F lunar regolith simulant) telescope mirrors for museums, schools, and individuals
3. 0.25m and larger nanocomposite mirror telescopes for the medium to high end amateur astronomy market segment.
4. Sub-meter and larger convex mirrors made by replication against concave mandrels. These cost a fraction of comparable units made by glassowrking. Convex mirrors are commonly employed as the secondary mirrors in meter class telescopes.
5. 1-2 Meter class telescopes for small college observatories.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Adaptive Optics
Telescope Arrays

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37