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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Optically Controlled and Corrected Active Meta-material Space Structures (OCCAMS)

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Project Image   OCCAMS: Optically Controlled and Corrected Active Meta-material Space Structures (Ultra-Lightweight Photonic Muscle Space Structures Phase II)

Photons weigh nothing. Why must even small space telescopes have high mass? Our team has demonstrated this is not the case using a completely novel approach to producing and correcting active optical primary mirrors to be used specifically for NASA's future large space telescope missions. Unprecedented advances in nano-engineered meta-materials have produced a laser actuated liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) polymer substrate with controllable reversible bi-directional bending. Using our novel optically controlled molecular actuators allows substitution of optically induced control for rigidity and mass.

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