This paper presents the first test results of a novel Fine Steering Mirror (FSM) for optical communication terminals. The FSM utilizes efficient variable reluctance actuators, tailored for the specific application, making it highly compact and power efficient. The test results demonstrate a high dynamical performance of <1.7kHz closed-loop bandwidth, and an optical angular range of more than ±2° in two axes. The actual optical angular jitter is less than 1.5 μrad. These numbers demonstrate that this FSM is highly suitable for the evolving field of inter-satellite laser communications.
Optical communications will complement radio frequency (RF) communications in the coming decades to enhance throughput, power efficiency and link security of satellite communication links. To enable optical communications technology for intersatellite links and (bi-directional) ground to satellite links, TNO develops a suite of technologies in collaboration with industry, which comprises of terminals with different aperture sizes, coarse pointing assemblies and fast steering mirrors. This paper presents the current state of the development of TNO technology for optical space communications. It mainly focuses on the development of an optical head with an entrance aperture of 70 mm, an optical bench for CubeSats and coarse pointing assemblies (CPAs). By continuing these steps, world wide web based on satellite communications will come closer.
TNO is developing a novel Large Dynamic Range Atomic Force Microscope (LDR-AFM), primarily but not exclusively designed for sub-nm accurate overlay metrology. The LDR-AFM combines an AFM with a 6 degrees- of-freedom interferometric positioning stage, thereby enabling measurements of sub-nm features on a wafer over multiple millimeters marker-to-feature distances. The current work provides an overview of recent developments and presents the first results obtained after final integration of the complete system. This includes results on the AFM head development, the validated positioning stage performance, the first AFM images, and long-term stability measurements.
Optical communications will complement radio frequency (RF) communications in the coming decades to enhance throughput, power efficiency and link security of satellite communication links. To enable optical communications technology for intersatellite links and (bi-directional) ground to satellite links, TNO develops a suite of technologies in collaboration with industry. Throughout these developments there is a particular aim for high levels of system integration, compactness and low recurring cost in order to meet the overall requirements related to market viability. TNO develops terminals with aperture sizes of 70 and 17 mm, coarse pointing assemblies and fast steering mirrors. This paper discusses the state of development of these different technologies and provides and outlook towards the future.
TNO is developing Deformable Mirror (DM) technology, targeted for aberration correction in high-end Adaptive Optics (AO) applications in the field of lithography, astronomy, space and laser communication. The heart of this deformable mirror technology is a unique actuator technology based on the variable reluctance principle. The main advantages of this technology are the inherent high reliability, linearity (>99%), and high efficiency in terms of force per volume and unit power. Based on this actuator technology TNO built and tested a prototype DM, with 57 actuators, and a mirror diameter of Ø160mm. The test results show a highly linear actuator response, with less than 1% hysteresis over a stroke of 40μm. Atmospheric aberration correction has been shown with these DM’s in a free space laser-communication bread board. The same actuator technology is also used in the application of a highly compact Fine Steering Mirror (FSM), with an overall volume of Ø27x30mm, with a Ø20mm mirror. This FSM is targeted for satellite-based laser-communication terminals. Furthermore, a design study has been carried out to show the scalability of this technology towards large (~Ø1m to ~Ø3m) adaptive (secondary) mirrors with several hundreds, up to thousands of actuators. In this paper these different DM and FSM’s are discussed, and the latest test results obtained with the DM prototypes are presented.
TNO and DLR envision optical free-space communication between ground stations and geostationary telecommunication satellites to replace the traditional RF links for the next generation of Very High Throughput Satellites. To mitigate atmospheric turbulence, an Adaptive Optics (AO) system will be used. TNO and DLR are developing breadboards to validate Terabit/s communication links using an AO system. In this paper the breadboard activities and first results of the sub-systems will be presented. Performance of these subsystems will be evaluated for viability of terabit/s optical feeder links.
To increase the collecting power and to improve the angular imaging resolution, space telescopes are evolving towards larger primary mirrors. The aerial density of the telescope mirrors needs to be kept low, however, to be compatible with the launch requirements. A light-weight (primary) mirror will introduce additional optical aberrations to the system. These may be caused by for instance manufacturing errors, gravity release and thermo-elastic effects. Active Optics (AO) is a key candidate technology to correct for the resultant wave front aberrations .
Over the last decade TNO has developed a deformable mirror concept using electromagnetic actuators with the main advantages of having very low non-linearity and hysteresis, low power consumption, and high inherent reliability of the actuators. TNO recently started a program to redesign the electromagnetic actuator to improve the actuator efficiency, allowing higher actuator force per volume and per wattage. The increased actuator efficiency gives improvement of the DM performance in terms of dynamical performance, actuation range, and power dissipation. With this technology various applications in the fields of ground-based astronomy and space missions are targeted.
Nowadays most overlay metrology tools assess the overlay performance based on marker features which are deposited next to the functional device features within each layer of the semiconductor device. However, correct overlay of the relatively coarse marker features does not directly guarantee correct overlay of the much smaller device features. This paper presents the development of a tool that allows to measure the relative distance between the marker and device features within each layer of the semiconductor device, which can be used to improve the overlay at device feature level. In order to be effective, the marker to device feature distance should be measured with sub-nanometer measurement uncertainty over several millimeters range. Furthermore, the tool should be capable of profiling the marker features to allows prediction of the location interpretation of the optical diffraction based alignment sensors, which are sensitive for potential asymmetry of the marker features.
To enable this, a highly stable Atomic Force Microscope system is being developed. The probe is positioned relative to the wafer with a 6DOF controlled hexapod stage, which has a relatively large positioning range of 8x8mm. The position and orientation of this stage is measured relative to the wafer using 6 interferometers via a highly stable metrology frame. A tilted probe concept is utilized to allow profiling of the high aspect ratio marker and device features. Current activities are aimed at demonstrating the measurement capabilities of the developed AFM system.