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ORA to Develop Optical Design Software

Photonics Spectra
Dec 2004
Optical Research Associates (ORA) of Pasadena, Calif., has received a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant from NASA to fabricate optical modeling and design tools to analyze and support beam propagation results at a contrast level of 1 × 10-11. The company says this is a performance improvement of several orders of magnitude over similar available optical design software. The technology can support applications such as NASA's terrestrial planet finder project, which may use a telescope that separates the dim reflected light from planets from the glare of their parent stars.

For the program, the company will develop ways of modeling full vector propagation of electromagnetic waves, while incorporating the effects of complicated apertures and midspatial frequency surface figure errors.


GLOSSARY
telescope
An afocal optical device made up of lenses or mirrors, usually with a magnification greater than unity, that renders distant objects more distinct, by enlarging their images on the retina.
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