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Cambridge, MA, United States

Boston Micromachines Corporation is a US company operating out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boston Micromachines manufactures and develops MEMS deformable mirrors to perform open- and closed- loop adaptive optics. The technology is applied in Beam Shaping, Astronomy, Vision Science, Retinal Imaging, general Microscopy and supports national defense; any application in need of wavefront manipulation. Wikipedia.

Paudel H.P.,Boston University | Stockbridge C.,Boston University | Mertz J.,Boston University | Bifano T.,Boston University | Bifano T.,Boston Micromachines Corporation
Optics Express | Year: 2013

We demonstrate feedback-optimized focusing of spatially coherent polychromatic light after transmission through strongly scattering media, and describe the relationship between optimized focus intensity and initial far-field speckle contrast. Optimization is performed using a MEMS spatial light modulator with camera-based or spectrometer-based feedback. We observe that the spectral bandwidth of the optimized focus depends on characteristics of the feedback signal. We interpret this dependence as a modification in the number of independent frequency components, or spectral correlations, transmitted by the sample, and introduce a simple model for polychromatic focus enhancement that is corroborated by experiment with calibrated samples. © 2013 Optical Society of America.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.87K | Year: 2010

Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC), a leading developer of unique, high-resolution micromachined deformable mirrors (DMs), will develop a compact, low-power, high-voltage multiplexed driver suitable for integration with those DMs in space-based wavefront control applications. The proposed driver architecture will drastically reduce power consumption and size. Based on parameters measured using an existing 993-actuator DM that BMC developed for NASA in support of the Terrestrial Planet Finding Coronagraph program, and using projections from preliminary experiments conducted for this proposal, we predict at minimum a hundred-fold reduction in power consumption in the prototype driver to be produced in Phase I, and a tenfold reduction in size, while maintaining high precision, reducing electronics driver cost, and reducing interconnection complexity. Additional reductions in power consumption and another tenfold reduction in size will follow in Phase II work when the core design is transferred to implementation in application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) format. Phase I work involves collaboration between BMC and Boston University (BU). A leading electrostatics research group at BU will develop a novel multiplexed high-voltage driver architecture that comprises a significant departure from previous MEMS DM drivers. A single D/A converter and high-voltage amplifier module will drive the entire array through a row-column addressing scheme. This approach will reduce operational power consumption by two orders of magnitude from ~80W to ~0.8W. We will also integrate the DM and the mirror into a compact package. The MEMS DM and the electronics will be co-mounted on the same PC board. This will reduce driver volume by an order of magnitude, from ~20,000cc to 2000cc. It will also eliminate the need for high density cabling and buffer amplifiers used to drive them, simplifying system operation and further reducing power consumption and size.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.66K | Year: 2016

The search for life on earth-like extrasolar planets has emerged as a compelling long-term scientific goal for NASA. That goal has inspired innovative space-based coronagraphs that aim to collect spectral data from earth-like planets orbiting stars in distant solar systems. NASA's SBIR Solicitation topic Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Coronography calls specifically for small stroke, high precision, deformable mirrors and associated driving electronics scalable to 10,000 or more actuators. This research aims to overcome the two major technical problems that affect yield and lifetime of the micro-electro-mechanical system deformable mirrors (MEMS DMs) that currently define the state of the art for high-resolution wavefront control: (1) keyhole voids occurring during manufacturing (reducing manufacturing yield) and (2) field emission damage that occurs during device operation (reducing operational lifetime). In this project, the technical solutions to these problems that were demonstrated in the Phase I project will be integrated into a full DM wafer-scale surface-micromachining batch production run to make the first 100% working 2048-element MEMS DM. As a byproduct of the process enhancements developed in Phase I research, this run will feature unprecedented surface smoothness and exceptional device reliability and lifetime in addition to high yield. The devices will be produced in a form factor that can be used with the heritage coating, packaging, and testing technologies. They will fit into existing packages and will be controllable with existing driver technology. Consequently, they will allow rapid insertion of these new high-reliability DM devices into appropriate NASA test beds.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.84K | Year: 2015

The project team will conduct processing and design research aimed at improving yield, performance, and reliability of high-actuator-count micro-electro-mechanical deformable mirrors (MEMS DMs) that are essential for space-based coronograph instruments. The primary objectives of this Phase I proposal are to develop and demonstrate solutions to the two main problems that BMC has encountered in scaling up its DM design and manufacturing processes to array sizes of 4000 actuators or more: (1) keyhole voids occurring during manufacturing (reducing manufacturing yield) and (2) dielectric breakdown occurring during device operation (causing irreversible damage to the device). The technical approach will involve changes in DM processing technology and actuator geometry, and these will be validated in an abbreviated fabrication run at a MEMS foundry. The project goals are responsive to NASA Solicitation Topic S2.01, Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Coronography, which calls for research on process technology needed to improve repeatability, yield, and performance precision of high precision DMs. Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC) is currently a leading supplier of such DMs worldwide. If successful, this project will result in a modified process technology for DM production that eliminates manufacturing yield losses due to keyhole voids while improving DM surface quality. It will also result in a modified DM actuator design that is far less susceptible to operational damage due to dielectric breakdown, improving both reliability and lifetime.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 177.31K | Year: 2013

This Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase I project aims to develop and demonstrate a superpenetration multiphoton microscope (S-MPM) that will more than double the imaging depth achievable in highly scattering biological tissue. MPM technology has revolutionized the field of subsurface biological imaging, but its depth of penetration is limited. The severe scattering introduced by biological tissue - especially neural tissue - prevents most commercial MPM instruments imaging beyond a few scattering mean free paths. With this limitation, research on cells and cell networks at the frontier of neuroscience is constrained. A recent breakthrough in coherent light propagation and control through highly scattering media demonstrated the possibility of enhancing focal intensity by factors of several hundred on the far side of a medium, despite any amount of scattering, by using a spatial light modulator to modify the phase of the coherent light on the near side of the medium. This project will combine MPM and BMCs fast microelectromechanical spatial light modulators (MEMS SLMs) to offer a compelling and affordable way to exploit this breakthrough in optical science that will make a substantial impact on biomedical and neurobiological research.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to substantially improve multiphoton microscopy techniques that have grown exponentially in importance over the past two decades. If successful, the research outcomes will have broad impact on the field of neurobiology by allowing researchers to routinely probe molecular-scale structures and functions at depths of up to 1mm in brain tissue. This enhanced capability will effectively double the achievable penetration depth, with only modest additional instrument cost. The MEMS SLM work that comprises the bulk of the Phase I work plan will generate an important new commercial component, a fast, low cost, MEMS SLM subsystem. Since the proposed instrument will only require use of less than half of the MEMS SLM dynamic range, the drive electronics can be reduced in size and simplified allowing easy integration and significantly reducing cost by using off-the-shelf components and at the same time increase the temporal bandwidth of the system.. The result will be a fivefold reduction in cost and a fivefold increase in speed, which will also have a significant impact on other commercial applications such as free-space laser communication, femtosecond laser.

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