Extracting Zero-Gravity Surface Figure of a Mirror
- Saturday, 01 January 2011
The technical innovation involves refinement of the classic optical technique of averaging surface measurements made in different orientations with respect to gravity, so the effects of gravity cancel in the averaged image. Particularly for large, thin mirrors subject to substantial deformation, the further requirement is that mount forces must also cancel when averaged over measurement orientations. The zero-gravity surface figure of a mirror in a hexapod mount is obtained by analyzing the summation of mount forces in the frame of the optic as surface metrology is averaged over multiple clockings. This is illustrated with measurements taken from the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) PT-Ml mirror for both twofold and threefold clocking. The positive results of these measurements and analyses indicate that, from this perspective, a lighter mirror could be used; that is, one might place less reliance on the damping effects of the elliptic partial differential equations that describe the propagation of forces through glass.