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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Ultra-low Cost, Lightweight, Molded, Chalcogenide Glass-Silicon Oxycarbide Composite Mirror Components, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

After optical performance, the most important metric for advanced optical systems is the areal cost (cost per square meter of collecting aperture). Future NASA space mirror requirements call for an order of magnitude improvement in areal cost over current technologies. With this goal in mind, Semplastics will leverage existing in-house technologies to develop an ultra-low cost, lightweight, molded, chalcogenide glass-silicon oxycarbide (SiOC) composite mirror component. This novel silicon oxycarbide substrate has the advantage of using an extremely low-energy process to produce a molded bulk ceramic substrate with weight-reducing rib patterns on the back of the substrate. This silicon oxycarbide ceramic is much lighter in weight than bulk ceramics like silicon carbide or lithium aluminosilicate glass ceramics such as ZerodurTM, resulting in an additional benefit in the potential for reduction of on-orbit mass for space missions using this technology. Chalcogenide (ChG) Glass is used to fill in the pores of the porous bulk and support transitioning to a smooth, thermally matched surface ready for aluminization for mirror formation. Successful completion of this development effort will meet both the cost and optical performance targets for next-generation Ultraviolet/Optical and Infared mirror components. More »

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