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Center Innovation Fund: LaRC CIF

Light weight Telescope Systems Using Novel Nano-layered Synthesized Material

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Light weight Telescope Systems Using Novel Nano-layered Synthesized Material

Under this project we will design, develop, and fabricate a novel diffractive optical telescope objective. The telescope objective element is based on novel nano-layer synthetic materials. In addition, a telescope for imaging the sun will be developed and tested in the field. The design and performance evaluation along with the experimental results will be summarized in a final report.

Current state of the art telescopes systems are based on reflective mirrors and/or refractive optics. Optical systems such as Hubble telescope with a 3 meter aperture weigh over 2000 Kg and are expensive to fabricate. Based on our preliminary designs, a large 10-m telescope will weight less than 1500 Kg and cost less than $50k recurring cost to fabricate. Hence this technology offers significant advantages in weight and cost. NASA and DoD missions desire optical telescopes with over 10 meters in diameter. Hence there is a significant need for technologies enabling such large telescopes to be low weight and cost. Under this NASA CIF effort we investigate using diffractive optics for use in large telescope systems. At LaRC we have a class 100 cleanroom facility set up for the fabrication of high precision optics based on nano-layered synthesized materials. Under this effort we will design and fabricate 10 cm telescope objectives and evaluate their performance in a telescope designed for H-alpha band solar imaging. In addition, we will perform a field test imaging a solar eclipse at Port Douglas, Australia in November 2012. The design and performance evaluation of the technology will be summarized in final report along with the experimental data.

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