Lightweight composite mirrors for telescopes

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX12CF46P
Agency Tracking Number: 115726
Amount: $125,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: S2.04
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2809-K Merrilee Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22031-4409
DUNS: 167433531
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Tirumalai Sudarshan
 Principal Investigator
 (703) 560-1371
Business Contact
 Tirumalai Sudarshan
Title: Business Official
Phone: (703) 560-1371
Research Institution
Lightweight, steady and stiff mirrors are necessary to decrease cost of telescopes such as IXO and GenX used in special NASA missions. Low-density materials are ideal for use as mirrors in such applications. Beryllium has been traditionally considered ideal for lightweight mirrors requiring high rigidity. The toxicity of beryllium poses a major problem. Polished Silicon Carbide (SiC), prepared by Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), is the current material of choice for fabrication of mirrors in lightweight telescopes. However, CVD is a complex and expensive technique and the quality of SiC produced is very sensitive to the processing conditions. MMI proposes to utilize a novel displacement reaction to obtain fully dense B4C based composite mirrors with unique microstructural features. Phase I will involve preparing the lightweight optical mirror material and evaluating their mechanical, thermal and optical properties. Phase II will involve optimization of the processing, consolidation and polishing procedures for the composite. In collaboration with industrial partners, who manufacture special purpose optics, mirrors will be fabricated and tested in Phase II for use in various applications.

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

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