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Ontario, NY, United States

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.68K | Year: 2016

Monolithic freeform telescopes offer the potential to positively address the size, weight and vibration concerns associated with flight telescope systems. We propose to prove feasibility that our optics manufacturing process is capable of producing of a freeform optical telescope system by manufacturing and testing five optical surfaces on five sides of a single high purity optical material. The resulting working monolithic telescope will include a high precision freeform surface. The capability of in adding of a freeform surface in a monolithic optical telescope design offers flexibility to create more compact designs, larger fields of view, and better-performing unobscured systems.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.73K | Year: 2015

Freeform conformal windows, which match an airframe?s shape, are used to protect sensor arrays. These windows provide the advantages of traditional sensor windows, namely, durability, in combination with superior aerodynamic performance. The goal of this Phase I SBIR project is to demonstrate the capability to produce a large (12? x 12?), non-rotationally symmetric window to tight optical tolerances. In addition to demonstrating manufacturing capability, the Phase I effort will include development of critical features of the window and manufacturing process such as fiducials and freeform window blocking advances.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.11K | Year: 2014

Our proposed innovation is a robust manufacturing process for free-form optical surfaces with limited mid-spatial frequency (MSF) irregularity error. NASA and many others have a direct and critical need for high quality free-form optical components. Free-forms can improve the optical performance of many types of optical systems when compared to aspheres. MSF error is a major concern with free-form optics as the standard method for manufacturing free-forms (sub-aperture tool polishing) can lead directly to large MSF error. Simply, MSF error is a height error on the surface in the spatial regime between roughness (micro) and irregularity (macro). MSF errors dramatically degrade performance in optical systems. Our free-form manufacturing process is differentiated by full-aperture polishing step, called VIBE, and by the proposed smoothing step. The VIBE step does not create MSF error as the sub-aperture process does. The smoothing step will reduce any inherent MSF error. In this manner, we will manufacture free-form optical surfaces without MSF errors. Our technical objectives are three fold: 1) Determine most feasible smoothing parameters, 2) Determine feasibility of smoothing for free-forms for reduced mid-spatial frequency error, and 3)Determine the effectiveness of using a computer generated hologram (CGH) for free-form measurements. To accomplish these objectives we have set out the following work plan. First we will design the free-form surface and the associated CGH (with feature for easy alignment). Next, we will perform a study on smoothing to determine the optimized smoothing parameters to remove mid-spatial frequency errors on free-form surfaces. Then, we will manufacture precision free-form surfaces using the optimized parameters. During each step in the manufacturing process (generation, VIBE polishing, smoothing, sub-aperture figure correction, and something) we evaluate both the irregularity and mid-spatial frequency errors.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.98K | Year: 2015

This proposal encompasses two opportunities, low cost finishing of monolithic optical ceramic domes with embedded grids, and low cost finishing of a novel optical ceramic domes. In Phase II we will continue to improve our manufacturing process to show a

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.89K | Year: 2015

Our proposed innovation is additive manufacturing for the production of lightweight mirror substrates for flight applications with high mechanical stability. The steps of our proposed process for manufacturing lightweight 3D printed mirrors: first, a geometrically complex substrate is easily and cost-effectively manufactured using 3D printing. After printing, the mirror surface is lapped and polished using traditional manufacturing methods to final figure specifications. Then, a flight or space ready mirror coating is applied to the surface and the part is tested for performance. Additive manufacturing will permit lightweight mirrors with support structures that are impossible with traditional manufacturing methods for lightweighting. In addition, these structures will be optimized in size, shape, and location to negate thermal effects from changes in temperature and mechanical effects from stresses during manufacture, mounting, and flight. Technical Objective 1: Demonstrate feasibility of additive manufacturing a lightweight substrate with mechanical and thermal stability at flight temperatures Our goal for this objective is to manufacture a spherical mirror substrate suitable for light focusing applications at a range of temperatures for flight applications Technical Objective 2: Demonstrate feasibility of depositing mirror coatings at low temperatures for flight applications A low temperature deposition process minimizes shape distortion of the 3D-printed substrate that would occur during a typical coating. Our work plan consists of the following tasks: 1: Mirror Substrate Design and Optimization 2: Manufacturing of the Optimized Mirror Substrate using 3D printing 3: Polishing the Mirror Substrate 4: Low-Temperature Deposition of Mirror Coatings on Substrates for Flight Applications

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