Deformable Mirror to be Used in Space
- Tuesday, 19 December 2006
Boston Micromachines Corp.
A Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant recently was awarded to Boston Micromachines by NASA to develop a deformable mirror suitable for space-based operation in systems for high-resolution imaging. The deformable mirror will be produced through a combination of MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) fabrication techniques using single crystal silicon for all structural components. The eventual application of the mirror is to operate in space as part of a future observatory mission for the detection of planets in other solar systems. Because of this, the deformable mirror must provide precision, thermal stability, and optical quality suitable for space-based operation.
Boston Micromachines is also providing a MEMS deformable mirror for a NASA-sponsored space exploration project led by Boston University. The project, called the Planet Imaging Concept Testbed Using a Rocket Experiment (PICTURE), aims to obtain a direct image of an extrasolar giant planet. Its telescope, which uses Boston Micromachines’ MEMS mirror for wavefront control, will be launched aboard a NASA sounding rocket in early 2007. This will be the first use of a MEMS deformable mirror in space.
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