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Enhanced ORCA and CLARREO Depolarizers Using AR Microstructures

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
15 A Street Burlington, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Enhanced ORCA and CLARREO Depolarizers Using AR Microstructures
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CE95P
Award Amount: $100,000.00


Next generation Earth Science Satellites ORCA and CLARREO are designed to measure our planet's ocean and climate health. Using hyper-spectral imaging at wavelengths ranging from the UV through NIR, these instruments will record the levels of the earth's temperature rise over the course of a decade. To make such detailed measurements, polarization effects at various wavelengths due to multiple factors must be eliminated using an optical device known as a "de-polarizer". For the CLARREO de-polarizer, four quartz windows are needed to randomize the polarization state of the observed reflected light spectrum. Multiple reflections from 4 surfaces produce losses up to 14% of the incident light, a level high enough to produce "ghost" effects superimposed on the desired earth images resulting in reduced image contrast and greater measurement error. An anti-reflection (AR) treatment is needed that can withstand the radiation and temperature effects caused by the mission environment while reducing reflection losses to levels of fractions of one percent. A new type of AR treatment, being developed for many military and commercial applications, is based on surface relief microstructures fabricated directly in a window, optic, or sensor material. AR microstructures (ARMs) can suppress internal reflections to levels unattainable by conventional thin-film AR coating technology. To extend the performance benefits of ARMs to hyper-spectral imaging systems, it is proposed that the fabrication processes developed for fused silica, glass, silicon, and many other optical materials be adapted for use with the quartz and magnesium fluoride depolarizers planned for the ORCA and CLARREO missions. In addition, an investigation of innovative surface microstructure technology is proposed for the fabrication of a new type of non-scattering, micro-textured depolarizer with inherent AR properties that can be applied to multiple optical elements within a spectrometer system.

Principal Investigator:

Douglas Hobbs
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Douglas Hobbs
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

15 A Street Burlington, MA -

EIN/Tax ID: 043570443
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No