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Micromirrors Considered for Space

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2000
A team at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., is designing an infrared mirror array for NASA's Next Generation Space Telescope, which incorporates microelectromechanical systems technology. In September, the team demonstrated a working prototype of 100 x 100-µm mirrors with the ability to tilt 10° in unison. The array, if selected for the project, will comprise 4 million independently movable mirrors.

The telescope will be used to study the 1- to 5-µm range of infrared light. NASA expects it to reveal structures of the universe from the first few billion years following the Big Bang, the yet-unobserved period during which astrophysicists believe the first stars and galaxies began to form.

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