SBIR Phase II: Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) Multimorph Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MOEMS) Deformable Mirror

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Iris AO
2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA, 94704
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Michael Helmbrecht
(510) 849-2375
Business Contact:
Matthew Hart
(510) 849-2375
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II research project aims to deliver a dramatic advance in microelectromechanical system (MEMS) deformable mirror performance. Deformable mirrors are the key active component in adaptive optics (AO) systems that provide vastly improved resolution through turbulent air, water, and biological samples. The lack of low- cost, high-deflection (stroke), and low-voltage deformable mirrors has prevented the widespread deployment of AO in a range of fields including biotechnology, ophthalmology, and national security. Phase I successfully demonstrated a new actuation approach for shaping MEMS deformable mirrors. The new approach combines piezoelectric actuation with MEMS deformable mirror technology. The piezoelectric actuators are a true breakthrough as deformable mirror actuation voltage may be reduced from 100-200 volts down to 10-20 volts - a full order of magnitude reduction. The use of smaller, less expensive, safer, and more reliable low-voltage electronics opens the door for a host of applications. The goal of Phase II is to build on the Phase 1 actuator designs to manufacture complete deformable mirror arrays with groundbreaking high stroke, low voltage, low cost, high speed, coupled with superb optical quality. The high resolution and contrast enhancement enabled by adaptive optics (AO) using deformable mirrors is poised to dramatically advance astronomy, ophthalmology, biology, and national security. Yet for the full potential to be realized, miniature deformable mirrors with high stroke, low voltage, and low cost are critical. If successful the proposed mirror will address the key requirements vital for moving AO into mainstream scientific laboratories and commercial markets. This will have enormous social and commercial impact. Biological microscopes that have far higher resolution, ophthalmoscopes that can image single cells in a living retina, laser microsurgery with precise beam control, and telescopes that can image through atmospheric turbulence will push the boundaries of science. The health and well being of millions will be directly improved as commercialization moves early eye disease detection, customized vision correction, and new medical treatments into doctor offices across the nation. Free space optical communication, and long-range surveillance applications will also reap the benefits of this technology.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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