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Ultra-lightweight, Low Scatter, Large Mirror Technology

By H. E. Bennett


A technique is being developed to fabricate a prototype lightweight composite mirror one meter in diameter. The mandrel, on which the composite mirror will be laid up, is an ultra low expansion quartz glass, TSG, whose thermal expansion coefficient, 10(exp -7)/ degC or less, is similar to that for the composite material itself. The mandrel surface will be super-polished to 6-8 A rms or better, resulting in ten times less scattered light in the visible region than is found in typical astronomical mirrors. We have shown experimentally that mandrel micro-roughnesses of this order can be successfully replicated on composite faceplates. The faceplate is very tough, and does not fracture like a thin glass faceplate. It will be supported by actuators alone, not by the edge of the mirror mount, to avoid non-uniform or non-symmetric influence functions. BOR developed actuators are designed for atmospheric correction, maintenance of optical figure, and minor tip tilt. They have a throw of a centimeter, can be controlled remotely, and have a response time of 1/2 msec. The piezoelectric part of the actuator operates in the 30-70 V range and the differential screw portion has a linearity of about +/-0.1 microns

Topics: Optics
Year: 2006
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