To demonstrate the ability of freeform gradient optics to achieve compact lightweight high-performance beam-expanding optics, working with NASA subject matter experts and other stakeholders, the requirements for the lidar beam-expanding optical system will be refined. Design trade studies will be performed before various lidar beam-expander optics are designed and modeled. On-axis and off-axis afocal beam expanders will be designed that provide accurate, unobstructed and achromatic expansion of the collimated input source. The designs considered will include 15-cm- to 60-cm-diameter beam-expander telescope optical systems, with magnifications of 20x to 65x respectively. After optimizing designs, optical components will be fabricated, characterized, and demonstrated. The optics obtics will be shown to maintain high optical performance over a wide range of temperatures (e.g., at least -100° C to +100° C) and to be compatible with respect to environmental, atmospheric oxygen and radiation tolerance, and outgassing conditions typical of space-based payloads launched and operating in space.
The innovation has widespread application for NASA missions requiring compact, high-performance optics, including those for small satellites, laser-ranging and lidar instruments, integral imaging spectroscopy, and demanding optical instruments.
The innovation has widespread use in amateur astronomy, cell-phone cameras, holographic displays, integral imaging devices, optical microscopy, and consumer and industrial optical systems.