MEMS deformable mirrors to go into space

Boston Micromachines Corporation, a provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror products for adaptive optics systems, has been selected by NASA for a $600,000, Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a deformable mirror suitable for space-based operation in systems for high-resolution imaging.

WATERTOWN, MA - Boston Micromachines Corporation, a provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror products for adaptive optics systems, has been selected by NASA for a $600,000, Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a deformable mirror suitable for space-based operation in systems for high-resolution imaging. The mirror will be fabricated through a combination of MEMS-based techniques using single crystal silicon for all structural components. The eventual application of this mirror is to operate in space as part of a future observatory mission for the detection of planets in other solar systems.

Boston Micromachines and NASA have additional projects underway. Boston Micromachines is providing a high-resolution MEMS deformable mirror for The Planet Imaging Concept Testbed Using a Rocket Experiment (PICTURE) project, a collaboration between Boston University, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. In this project, the objective is to obtain a direct image of an extrasolar giant planet. Its telescope, which uses Boston Micromachines’ MEMS mirror for wavefront control, will be launched from White Sands, NM, aboard a NASA sounding rocket in early 2007, representing the first-ever use of a MEMS deformable mirror in space.

Founded in 1999, Boston Micromachines provides MEMS-based mirror products for use in commercial adaptive optics systems, applying wavefront correction to produce high resolution images of the human retina and enhance images blurred by the Earth’s atmosphere. The company’s customers include leading manufacturers of optical imaging and communication systems, governmental agencies and contractors, and vision science research laboratories, including NASA and Lockheed Martin.

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