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Successful 2K-DM Delivery to JPL and Continued WFIRST Development

Posted by Philip Zeng on Wed, Oct 10, 2018 @ 11:25 AM

Tags: exoplanet, NASA, deformable mirror, SBIR/STTR, astronomy, JPL, 2K-DM, WFIRST

Boston Micromachines successfully delivered the world’s first fully-functioning 2K-DM to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) as part of NASA’s Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program! With 2040 actuators, this mirror will be a contributing element to the BMC’s goal of developing DM technology for next generation space-based telescopes for exoplanet imaging.

What is even more exciting is that the NASA SBIR program has decided to extend our contract into its Phase II-X program in which BMC will deliver additional deformable mirrors for evaluation and potential inclusion in the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) program. The WFIRST program is a NASA mission concept of a next-generation space telescope that will play a role in the next steps of exoplanet and dark energy research for astronomers and scientists. This is scheduled to launch in the mid-2020s. Check out more here.

wfirst_spaceArtist rendering of WFIRST telescope, planned for a mid-2020 launch. Courtesy of NASA.

 This project has provided BMC the experience and the opportunity to begin the first steps towards the production of even higher actuator count DMs, 8,000 actuators or more, for space-based and ground-based telescopes.

8K

Much credit goes to all involved on both the BMC and JPL teams for working together on future developments of mirror technology for future space missions and exoplanet searching. 

For the full press release, it can be found here: 

 

 

 

 

 

       8K-DM layout.

SPIE Mirror Tech Days: Highlights and Takeaways

Posted by Michael Feinberg on Wed, Sep 05, 2012 @ 02:11 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, SPIE, mirror technology, BMC, imaging systems, telescopes, NASA, SBIR/STTR, Photonics West

 

describe the imageThe SPIE Mirror Technology SBIR/STTR Workshop was held in Rochester, NY this year at the end of July. This is always a good conference for BMC, and we go every year.  The conference can best be summarized from their website:

Tech Days annually summarizes the USA Government's investment strategies and activities in developing technology for any application (such as telescopes, imaging systems, seeker/trackers, high-energy laser systems, solar energy, etc.) which requires optical components. Tech Days covers technology investment efforts in: optical materials; substrate design & manufacture; optical fabrication and metrology technology; optical coatings; wavefront sensing and control via adaptive optics; nano-technology imaging technologies; etc.

I highlighted the text for emphasis as to why we attend:  You can see why this is a great place for BMC to be. We get to present the latest progress on our NASA SBIRs (of which we have 4 ongoing), see some of the other great research that is going on in the field, and learn from the NASA Program Scientist what the future needs are for mirror technology.  Also this year, BMC was a sponsor/exhibitor.  This gave us a chance to set up a table displaying some mirrors and information about our products and technology. It was in a great spot at the conference where lunch, coffee breaks and the Tuesday night reception were held. While the conference was not as big as some other SPIE events (e.g. Photonics West and Optics and Photonics), it was a great opportunity to meet with some key people.

A couple of takeaways from the meeting were

(1)    NASA SBIR/STTR program is strong and growing. 

They are using the research funding they have for strategic programs that will help with technology development, which was called out in the decadal survey  as an, if not the, important push for the next ten years.

(2)    There is a continuing need for BMC mirror technology. 

There are a number of projects that will require the wavefront control that our DMs can provide.

Both of these items point to a rich future for BMC and the deformable mirror industry as a whole. We look forward to connecting with these folks again next year and for many years to come.