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Astrophysics Research and Analysis

Next Generation Microshutter Arrays

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Next Generation Microshutter Arrays
We propose to develop the next generation MicroShutter Array (MSA) as a multi-object field selector for missions anticipated in the next two decades. For many applications, this field selector improves instrument efficiency proportionally to the number of shutters opened simultaneously. We have successfully developed and built the JWST microshutter array system, which increases the observing efficiency of the Near Infrared Spectrometer by two orders of magnitude. As a result of this development, there is a significant scientific demand for these devices for space-based and ground based applications. The availability of large format microshutters can significantly increase the scientific reach of spectroscopic survey instrument such as WFIRST and future missions such as ATLAST. The basic design of the JWST MSA cannot be extended to such a large scales due to the design limitations set by the required magnetic actuation. We have recently demonstrated shutter operation using DC plus AC resonant pumping. The breakthrough demonstrates that we are able to eliminate bulky permanent magnets used for JWST MSA actuation, thus opening an avenue to create a very large focal plane field selector that can be built at much lower cost. in this program, we will fabricate electrostatically actuated microshutter arrays and demonstrate their performance for use as UV, visible, and infrared field selectors. More »

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