In general, future high-performance systems for: (1) correction of aberrations in large-aperture, space-deployed optical interferometers and telescopes, (2) high-resolution imaging and communication through atmospheric turbulence, (3) laser beam steering, and (4) optical path alignment, (5) propagation of directed laser energy through atmospheric turbulence, will require deformable mirror (DM) wavefront correctors with several hundred to millions of elements. More specifically, NASA missions and instruments that would benefit from the proposed DM manufacturing/packaging technology are Visible Nulling Coronagraph (VNC), single aperture far-infrared observatory (SAFIR), Extrasolar Planetary Imaging Coronagraph (EPIC), and the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). Other NASA projects that would benefit from the proposed DM-ASIC technology include the Submillimeter Probe of the Evolutionary Cosmic Structure (SPECS), the Stellar Imager (SI) and the Earth Atmospheric Solar occultation Imager (EASI).
Non-NASA applications include laser beam shaping, ophthalmology and other microscope applications. In particular, for the Department of Defense, if needed, the prototype adaptive optical systems based on the Phase II results can be applied to military seekers, FLIRs, optical communications, and other adaptive optics systems for military operations. For optical computing, the VLSI circuit could be combined with piston-only micromirror structure for a phase-only spatial light modulator. Commercial markets for these systems also include retinal imaging, supernormal human vision, and amateur telescopes. In addition to production of new stack actuators of various specifications, the research is also expected to lead to a family of compact, low-cost, high performance spatial light modulators for direct retinal display, hologram, head mount display, and large-screen projection display applications.