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6 July 2006 Semiconductor fabrication techniques for producing an ultra-flat reflective slit
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The most difficult aspects in manufacturing a reflective slit substrate are achieving a precisely fabricated slit surrounded by an optically flat surface. A commonly used technique is to polish a metal substrate that has a slit cut by electric discharge machine (EDM) methods. This process can produce 'optically flat' surfaces; however, the EDM can produce a slit with edge roughness on the order of 10 microns and a RMS field roughness of ~1 micron. Here, we present a departure from these traditional methods and employ the advantages inherent in integrated circuit fabrication. By starting with a silicon wafer, we begin with a nearly atomically flat surface. In addition, the fabrication tools and methodologies employed are traditionally used for high precision applications: this allows for the placement and definition of the slit with high accuracy. If greater accuracy in slit definition is required, additional tools, such as a focused ion beam, are used to define the slit edge down to tens of nanometers. The deposition of gold, after that of a suitable bonding layer, in an ultra-high vacuum chamber creates a final surface without the need of polishing. Typical results yield a surface RMS-roughness of approximately 2nm. Most of the techniques and tools required for this process are commonly available at research universities and the cost to manufacture said mirrors is a small fraction of the purchase price of the traditional ones.
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Thomas E. Vandervelde, Michael J. Cabral, John Wilson, and Michael Skrutskie "Semiconductor fabrication techniques for producing an ultra-flat reflective slit", Proc. SPIE 6273, Optomechanical Technologies for Astronomy, 62731Z (6 July 2006);

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