10^3 Segment MEMS Deformable-Mirror Process Development

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CE01P
Agency Tracking Number: 084968
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: S2.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA, 94704-1717
DUNS: 120364380
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Helmbrecht
 Principal Investigator
 (510) 849-2375
Business Contact
 Michael Helmbrecht
Title: President
Phone: (510) 849-2375
Email: michael.helmbrecht@irisao.com
Research Institution
Iris AO will extend its proven segmented MEMS deformable mirror architecture to large array sizes required for high-contrast astrophysical imagers. Current implementations consist of arrays of 37 mirror segments (currently available commercially) and 163 segment arrays (first prototypes under test). Existing thin-film based MEMS fabrication techniques used by competitors typically can not achieve an adequate degree of optical flatness and maintain it over a range of temperatures. Even newer thick-film methods suffer from the same problem to some degree. The Iris AO segmented mirror approach, on the other hand, uses a thick and rigid single-crystal-silicon optical surface bonded to an electrostatically driven actuator platform. This results in excellent mirror flatness and insensitivity to temperature even when specialized optical coatings are used. This proposal addresses scaling this technology up to 10^3 segments. Key technical issues to be addressed in accommodating the larger number of segments include: (a) controlling overall bow of the larger chip; (b) developing the electrical interconnect design and fabrication process, and (c) modifying the mirror-wafer bonding process. This Phase I will include one process run in order to test and refine the proposed solutions.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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