NASA SBIR 2020-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 20-1- S2.03-4652
 Advanced Optical Systems and Fabrication/Testing/Control Technologies for EUV/Optical and IR Telescope
 Programmable Phase Nulling Interferometer
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Inc.
450 Courtney Way, Unit 107
Lafayette, CO 80026
(303) 604-0077

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Janelle Shane
450 Courtney Way, Unit 107 Lafayette, CO 80026 - 8878
(303) 604-0077

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Mark Tanner
450 Courtney Way, Unit 107 Lafayette, CO 80026 - 8878
(303) 604-0077
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 4
End: 5
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Laser interferometers are the state of the art for characterizing large telescope optics, manufacturing custom optics, aspheres, freeform optics, and for semiconductor wafer characterization. For test optics with large surface errors, a reference optic and/or a custom computer-generated hologram (CGH) can be used to bring the errors within the interferometer’s range.

However, many situations result in large departures from reference optics. Thermal & gravity sag effects in large optics can cause significant deviations, only some of which may be predictable. Test optics in semiconductor manufacturing may include sharp, irregular steps of many waves. In the early stages of optics polishing, departures from reference can be extreme. Custom optics, including asphere and freeform, can deviate hugely from spherical, and for these a custom CGH (with a typical lead time of 6 months and cost of $10k) is not always economical.

We propose to extend the range of an interferometer by providing > 50 waves of programmable phase control using a Spatial Light Modulator (SLM). In addition to extending the range of phase errors that can be characterized, the SLM interferometer can apply additional arbitrary phase.

In Phase I we will upgrade a prototype SLM interferometer that we previously used to demonstrate nulling and programmable phase control. Phase I will focus on improving interferometer speed, calibration, and stability, and quantifying performance through the following technical objectives:

  1. Design for interferometer upgrade with polarization camera
  2. Construction of the SLM interferometer
  3. Implementation of single-shot phase shifting interferometry (PSI)
  4. 2D Phase/voltage SLM calibration
  5. Characterizing range and accuracy
  6. Demonstrating key applications
  7. Delivery & demonstration of Phase I prototype


In Phase II BNS will incorporate an upgraded 1536x1536 pixel MacroSLM into a commercial interferometer and demonstrate its performance in typical use cases.


Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

An extended-range interferometer allows measurement of the phase errors of large telescope optics under conditions for which there is no reference available – such as the presence of thermal changes and gravity sag. This could also allow characterization earlier in the polishing process, lowering their overall cost.

The SLM interferometer can also add arbitrary phase, enabling new techniques for retrieving phase error and other mirror characteristics, and testing phase functions from simulation.

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The SLM interferometer can save optics manufacturers, especially free-form optics, time and money during manufacturing, since a greater interferometer range will mean optics can be characterized earlier in the fabrication process when their deviations from reference can be large. It can also allow spherical references or existing CGHs to be used for a wider range of optic designs.

Duration: 6

Form Generated on 06/29/2020 21:02:55