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'Mirror Days' Forum for Optics Developers, Agency Reps
Aug 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Aug. 11, 2006 -- A forum for government-sponsored contract work in mirror and other optics-related technology will bring together developers of optics technology and federal agency representatives. The sixth annual Mirror Tech Days Conference, to be held Sept. 18-20 in Albuquerque, N.M., will be hosted by the New Mexico Optics Industry Association (NMOIA) and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE); the City of Albuquerque Office of Economic Development is co-sponsor.

Mirror technology is the component of a telescope used to collect and image the entire spectrum of light, from x-rays to radio waves. Presentation topics will include new materials, actuators for control, and microsystems technology.

Founder Phil Stahl, senior optical physicist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama,Mirror Days began six years ago to address a need. was investing in mirror technology and knew other government agencies were also investing.

"We weren't coordinated, and we weren't getting the biggest bang for the buck. We were duplicating efforts," he said. By gathering agency representatives interested in the technology, they could both focus and leverage the available funding, he said.

Peer review is another benefit of Mirror Days, he said. Participating agencies invite recipients of their Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants to be presenters at the conference.

"They have to stand up and defend how they spent the money, with their peers watching. We can see whether we're spending tax dollars in the most efficient way possible," Stahl said.

Bill Goodman, of Schafer Corp., vice president of NMOIA and co-chair of the Greater Rio Grande Valley Chapter of SPIE, said, "Mirror Tech Days provides federal agency representatives exposure to the mirror-related technologies that are being funded by their peers in other organizations. This allows them to identify technologies that would be enabling for their own missions. Mirror Tech Days also allows major contractors to see what small businesses can offer in technology development. It's a way to bring small businesses together with big companies."

A unique feature of the event is that the presenters are also exhibitors.

"It's a networking opportunity for prime contractors and end users to see cutting-edge technologies," Stahl said.

Past conferences have included presentations about telescopes (design, manufacture and assembly), precision machining and micromachining and materials. About 100 attendees from all over the country are expected.

The conference, to be held at the Kirtland Air Force Base Conference Center, is open to the public. Foreign nationals are permitted at most presentations.

For more information, visit:

A smooth, highly polished surface, for reflecting light, that may be plane or curved if wanting to focus and or magnify the image formed by the mirror. The actual reflecting surface is usually a thin coating of silver or aluminum on glass.
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