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SBIR/STTR

Fabrication Process and Electronics Development for Scaling Segmented MEMS DMs, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has the potential to create deformable mirrors (DM) with more than 10^4 actuators that have size, weight, and power specifications that are far lower than conventional piezoelectric and electrostrictive DMs. However, considerable development is necessary to take state-of-the-art DMs today and make them flight-like. This Phase I SBIR proposal addresses two critical areas in MEMS DM development towards the goal of developing flight-like hardware. Namely, Phase I research will further develop Iris AO's proven hybrid MEMS DM technology to: 1) make a critical assembly step in the fabrication process scalable to wafer scales and 2) increase drive electronics resolution to 16 bits while simultaneously reducing power requirements more than three-fold over existing 14-bit resolution electronics. The increased spatial and actuator resolution afforded by the development here will enable picometer resolution DMs required to reach 10^10 contrast levels necessary for direct detection of Earth-sized terrestrial planets. More »

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