The driver ASIC and a DM will work together to enable NASA's applications including high-performance adaptive optics systems for (1) correction of aberrations in large-aperture, space-deployed optical interferometers and telescopes (e.g. for nulling coronagraph), (2) high-resolution imaging and communication through atmospheric turbulence, and (3) optical path alignment. Based on this NASA-supported ASIC driver platform technology, the products to be enabled through the program will be a series of driver ASICs for serving the deformable mirrors being used and/or to be implemented in NASA's future adaptive optics instrumentations. Not limited to the unique DM solution that our company is developing for NASA, but also applicable to drive DMs developed by other companies as long as the actuators are capacitive and within the working ranges of the driver ASIC. Differentiating itself from traditional driver solutions is its ultralow power dissipation, uncompromised board bandwidth (from quasi-static to up to 100 kHz), compactness, lightweight, and low cost, and should these features be demanded by a specific AO system design, the proposed ASIC technology will be worthy of considerations.
As an enabling technology for deformable mirrors, the ASIC will work together with DMs to enable a commercial application as well. Future non-NASA applications for deformable mirrors include laser beam shaping, ophthalmology and other microscope applications. In our commercial strategy, we plan to develop imaging enhancement chip to meet ophthalmology retinal imaging requirements. In addition, for the Department of Defense, if needed, we would build prototype ASIC/DM integrated module based on the Phase II results and apply these to military seekers, FLIRs and commercial adaptive optical systems. For MEMS industry, the ASIC circuit could be combined with piezoelectric and electrostatic microactuators to serve a large variety of device applications including those in optical MEMS, RF MEMS and Bio MEMS. For example, for electrostatic based MEMS portable display light engines, the ASIC could be implemented to further reduce the power dissipation of the entire display device.