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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Thin-Film Broadband Large Area Imaging System

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Thin-Film Broadband Large Area Imaging System
Fabrication of telescopes, even of relatively modest size requires uniquely complex technology and resources available only to large and specialized institutions. This monopoly is about to be challenged with dramatic cost reduction due to the advent of waveplate lenses and mirrors pioneered by BEAM Co. The objective of the proposed study is to develop concepts for applying diffractive waveplate technology to NASA observation and imaging missions including exoplanet detection. This technology employs "geometric phase" in focusing electromagnetic radiation. The system concept to be developed will comprise a thin-film, nearly weightless broadband diffractive waveplate lens that provides angular resolution and light collection capabilities needed for such missions while allowing aperture sizes to be expanded to levels prohibited by technology or cost considerations for any other currently known concept. Chromatic aberration correction techniques previously developed by us for laser communication applications may be extended to broadband imaging with submicroradian angular resolution. The proposed concept will lead to a new and promising design approach for very large aperture space telescopes making them inexpensively available for accomplishing future NASA missions. More »

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