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NASA Taps Boston Micromachines

Photonics.com
Jan 2010
Boston Micromachines Corp., provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products for adaptive optics systems, announced that it has been selected by NASA for two Phase 1 contracts. NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) awarded Boston Micromachines approximately $200,000 in contracts to further space imaging research. Boston Micromachines’ projects were chosen from more than 1,600 proposals. The first Phase 1 project is to develop a compact, ultralow-power, high-voltage multiplexed driver suitable for integration with Boston Micromachines’ deformable mirrors in space-based wavefront control applications. This project, a collaboration between Boston Micromachines and Boston University, aims for a driver to be produced with a minimum hundredfold reduction in power consumption and a tenfold reduction in size while maintaining its high precision but decreasing cost interconnection complexity. The second Phase 1 project is an enhanced fabrication development process for high-actuator-count deformable mirrors (DMs) that are required for wavefront control in space-based high-contrast imaging instruments. This manufacturing process will overcome the current scalability issues associated with fabricated, micromachined MEMS DMs with a polysilicon surface. With larger DM devices, space imaging instruments will shape more light using less hardware and fewer stages.



GLOSSARY
adaptive optics
Optical components or assemblies whose performance is monitored and controlled so as to compensate for aberrations, static or dynamic perturbations such as thermal, mechanical and acoustical disturbances, or to adapt to changing conditions, needs or missions. The most familiar example is the "rubber mirror,'' whose surface shape, and thus reflective qualities, can be controlled by electromechanical means. See also active optics; phase conjugation.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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