NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


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

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, 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   Gardopee
6252 Preston Ave.
Livermore, CA  94551 -0234
(724) 295 - 3330

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The proposed Phase II effort seeks to demonstrate a dramatic reduction of 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. We will use the RAP process (a plasma-based non-contact shaping tool) along with conventional steps to shape a series of lightweight optics, culminating in a 12" asphere. We will finish these optics to final specification using one of several candidate sub-aperture finishing tools. The avoidance of surface and subsurface damage by the use of this non-contact RAP process is expected to substantially reduce the time and cost of optical finishing of lightweight SiC optics. We will also demonstrate the scalability of the RAP process for SiC optics and optical segments up to 2 meters.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 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 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
SiC is an attractive material for optical and opto-mechanical applications in semiconductor processing, dynamic imaging systems and lightweight guidence systems. 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.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52