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Boston Micromachines Awarded NASA Contract for Telescope Mirrors

Photonics.com
Aug 2016
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 3, 2016 — Boston Micromachines Corp. has been awarded a contract through NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) to develop deformable mirror technology for next-generation, space-based telescopes. The two-year, $750,000 Phase II contract was awarded after the successful completion of a Phase I project where proof of concept experimentation led to advanced production methods of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) deformable mirrors.

The project’s goal is to develop new production methods that enhance the actuator yield, performance and reliability of deformable mirrors to meet the requirements of space applications, as well as deliver a 100 percent functioning, high-reliability 2040 actuator deformable mirror. The device aims to meet the needs of current space telescope concepts and serve as a stepping stone toward eventual production of a 10,000 actuator deformable mirror for applications in space-based and ground-based telescopes. The company said the mirror will support exoplanet imaging and detection missions.

NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research programs afford small businesses the chance to propose unique ideas that meet specific research and development needs of the government.

Boston Micromachines Corp. is a provider of MEMS-based mirror products and a designer of adaptive optics instrumentation, along with advanced retinal imaging instrumentation.



GLOSSARY
camera
A light-tight box that receives light from an object or scene and focuses it to form an image on a light-sensitive material or a detector. The camera generally contains a lens of variable aperture and a shutter of variable speed to precisely control the exposure. In an electronic imaging system, the camera does not use chemical means to store the image, but takes advantage of the sensitivity of various detectors to different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. These sensors are transducers...
astronomy
The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
mirror
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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