This SBIR Phase I project aims to improve the mirror quality of the PZT stack actuator DMs. With verified DM performance in terms of key performance parameters such as stroke, leakage current, speed, influence function as well as the validity of the superposition law in the DM control, the innovation further strives to optimize the manufacturing process to ultimately improve the mirror quality of the DMs in order to make them worthy of being considered for future NASA's flagship missions. The innovation leverages on our experience in developing stack actuator DM system with integrated ASIC driver electronics, enabling the next-generation DM-ASIC systems that are featured with: reduced number of wires from thousands to several tens, reduction of the power dissipation by two (2) orders of magnitude, shrinking of the form factor (weight/size) of the DM driver electronics by up to two (2) orders of magnitude, and reducing the DM cost by about 5 times. With both DM and the driver ASIC scalable by mosaicking to 96x96, 128x128 or larger format, the innovation holds promise of filling the NASA Technology Gap on DM and associating driver electronics connectors/cables as listed in the recently released Exoplanet Exploration Program Technology Plan Appendix 2018.
With both DM and the driver ASIC scalable by mosaicking to 96x96, 128x128 or larger format, the innovation holds promise of filling the NASA Technology Gap (Gap ID: CG-3) on DM and associating driver electronics connectors/cables of the recently released Exoplanet Exploration Program Technology Plan Appendix 2018, and will be able to serve future exo-Earth flagship missions such as HabEx, Exo-C probe, and LUVOIR by providing higher actuator count DM-ASIC systems with less cables, low mass, volume and power. .
Commercial markets for these systems include retinal imagers, supernormal human vision systems, and amateur telescopes. The research is also expected to lead to a family of compact, low-cost, high performance spatial light modulators for direct retinal display, head mount display, and large-screen projection display applications (digital cinema).