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20 July 2000 Ultralightweight precision optics technology
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We report on the successful development of a new ultra lightweight optics technology. Intended applications include telescopes in space, on the Moon, and adaptive optics. The technology employs a novel process of optical replication using standard industrial grade graphite fiber composite materials. Composite replication makes possible telescope mirrors that combine extremely low areal density, large aperture, high surface smoothness, and high optical quality. Fabrication times and costs have been demonstrated to be far below that of competing lightweight optics technologies. The very low areal density achieved, ranging from 1 to 5 kg/m2, makes possible multi-meter telescopes in space and on the ground. We present data on moisture absorption and outgassing, thermal expansion, thermal hysteresis, and improvement in optical figures. Applications to date include submillimeter telescopes and large optical arrays.
© (2000) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Peter C. Chen and Robert C. Romeo "Ultralightweight precision optics technology", Proc. SPIE 4003, Optical Design, Materials, Fabrication, and Maintenance, (20 July 2000);

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