NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S1.05-9938
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments
PROPOSAL TITLE: RAP Figuring slumped mirrors to remove mid-spatial frequency errors

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
RAPT Industries, Inc.
46535 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538 - 6409
(510) 933-1000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Pradeep Subrahmanyan
46535 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538 - 6409
(510) 933-1001

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Future X-ray telescopes require significant amounts of optical area. To accommodate this in a grazing incidence design, extremely thin mirrors are formed in concentric shell configurations. A slumping technique has been demonstrated with such thin, lightweight shells. However, the optical surface is found to contain a significant amount of mid-spatial frequency errors. It is proposed to demonstrate a sub-aperture figuring technique that does not impart mid-spatial frequencies to the optical substrate geometries planned for integration into next-generation X-ray telescopes.
Reactive Atom Plasma (RAP) is a sub-aperture, atmospheric pressure, non-contact figuring technology that relies on a deterministic gas-phase etching of the optical surface with high material removal rates. RAP has already been demonstrated as a very credible approach for fabricating the lightweight wedges required for the assembly of such mirrors. RAP is especially suitable for damage-free processing of extremely lightweight mirrors given the non-contact operation, and its ability to ameliorate sub-surface damage. The tool footprint is a Gaussian and hence has a limited capability to both impart mid-spatial errors, as well as to fix them. In phase 1, we plan on demonstrating the ability of the RAP process to impart minimal mid-spatial errors into the optical surface while a figuring demonstration using adjustable footprints is planned for phase 2.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Key NASA applications that could immediately use the technology are those involving high energy X-ray telescopes such as NuSTAR and Constellation-X. The technology developed is also applicable to other NASA programs that seek to minimize payload without sacrificing sensor performance. Phases 1 and 2 of this proposal will also create the core competencies required to minimize mid-spatial frequency errors on glass optics of any size and shape, and given the preponderance of glass optics used by NASA for both space and ground-based observation, we expect this technology to be applied to many future NASA observation programs.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Other optics applications involve lithography, surveillance tracking and fire-control systems with various commercial and DoD agencies. Making precision surfaces with a high aspect ratio is a common problem across optics, semiconductors, compound semiconductors, photo-voltaics etc. The high aspect ratio results from a need to reduce mass (as in the case of lightweight mirrors), improve device performance/packaging (as in semiconductors), decrease costs (as in photo-voltaics). The methods developed in Phase 1 can be applied to the rapid manufacturing of such surfaces in these other areas. RAPT Industries, Inc. has already commercialized the edge cleaning of semi-conductor wafers through a licensing arrangement with Accretech, USA.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Large Antennas and Telescopes

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