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Boston Micromachines Wins Grant

Photonics Spectra
May 2011
Boston Micromachines Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., has received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research Program contract from NASA to support space-based imaging research. The Phase I project is for the development of a high-resolution, fault-tolerant microelectromechanical deformable mirror technology that will fill a gap in NASA’s road map for future coronagraphic observatories. The company plans to implement two complementary modifications to the manufacturing process: It will develop a drive electronics approach to limit actuator electrical current density generated to prevent permanent failure when a short-time-frame, single-fault failure occurs, and it will modify the actuator design to mitigate failure resulting from adhesion between contacting surfaces of the actuator flexure and fixed base. The company provides mirror products for commercial adaptive optics systems.



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.
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