Achromatic Vector Vortex Waveplates for Coronagraphy

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX12CA49C
Agency Tracking Number: 105626
Amount: $1,042,459.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: S2.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
686 Formosa Avenue, Winter Park, FL, 32789-4523
DUNS: 959414327
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Nelson Tabirian
 Principal Investigator
 (407) 629-1282
 nelson@beamco.com
Business Contact
 Nelson Tabirian
Title: President
Phone: (407) 629-1282
Email: nelson@beamco.com
Research Institution
 Stub
Abstract
Using small aperture telescopes for detecting exoplanets could have a significant impact on astronomy and other imaging and space communication systems. In this new generation of smaller, lighter and more affordable coronagraph systems, the starlight is rejected with the aid of phase-based transparent masks capable of transmitting planetary light at small angular separation from the star. These so-called vector vortex waveplates (VVW) are complex optical components wherein the optical axis orientation is azimuthally modulated in space at a high spatial frequency. In the Phase 1 of the project, we showed the feasibility of fabricating VVWs that would meet requirements for astronomy applications due to small singularity size, high topological charge, high contrast, and broadband functionality. The breakthrough polarization conversion and beam shaping technology of printing VVWs developed in the Phase 1 will undergo further fundamental improvements in the Phase 2 of the project along with further optimization of photoalignment materials and liquid crystal polymers to fabricate and deliver VVWs characterized by: subwavelength singularity sizes; spectrally broadband/achromatic functionality, particularly, for infrared wavelengths; stability to radiation and large temperature variations; and functionality at cryogenic temperatures. This will accomplish the project's general objective – development and delivery of VVWs adequate for practical use.

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

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