NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S2.04-9566
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Optical Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Rapid Damage-Free Shaping of Lightweight SiC Using Reactive Atom Plasma (RAP) Processing

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
RAPT Industries, Inc.
6252 Preston Ave.
Livermore, CA 94551-0234
(925)371-7278

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
George J Gardopee
Ggardopee@aol.com
6252 Preston Ave.
Livermore, CA 94551-0234
(925)371-7278

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The proposed effort seeks to determine the feasibility of dramatically reducing the manufacturing cost and cycle time of lightweight silicon carbide mirrors by substituting a novel reactive atom plasma (RAP) process for traditional hard tool grinding and lapping. The RAP process employs an inductively coupled plasma torch with common gaseous fluorine compounds to produce a spatially controlled material removal profile. The plasma is scanned over the surface of the material to be shaped under the control of special algorithms to produce the desired optical form. The RAP process exhibits high volumetric material removal rates on SiC and other optical materials. The avoidance of surface and subsurface damage by the use of this non-contact RAP process is expected to significantly reduce the time and cost of optical finishing. RAP-shaped substrates will be polished by several candidate technologies to establish optimum finishing strategies.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Lightweight silicon carbide mirrors are needed for advanced space astronomy and earth imaging missions spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Based upon its material properties, SiC has been identified as an attractive replacement for beryllium and glass mirrors in future large aperture telescopes and interferometers. However, the cost and schedule for producing such optics by conventional technology has been prohibitive.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
SiC is an attractive material for applications in EUV lithography systems where it is a candidate material for illumination and imaging optics. It is also ideally suited for high stiffness, high agility wafer stages which must be optically tracked by laser based distance measuring interferometers. SiC is also attractive for high performance industrial scanners used in printing, cutting and welding.