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Optical Engineering

Progress in very lightweight optics using graphite fiber composite materials
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Paper Abstract

We report progress in the fabrication of very low areal density (<5 kg/m2) optical mirrors using space-flight-qualified graphite-fiberreinforced cyanate ester composite materials. Previous attempts have been thwarted by fiber print-through at the surface. We find that the problem can be successfully overcome if the composite is processed to leave a very thin layer of resin at the surface. Results thus far include replicas with surface microroughness ,1 nm rms, midfrequency ripples <3 nm rms, areal density 2 kg/m2 at 42-cm aperture, and freedom from print-through after vacuum drying and ion milling. The process is being extended to the fabrication of very lightweight meter-class optics for space UV astronomy applications, x-ray optics, and other ground- and space-based applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 February 1998
PDF: 11 pages
Opt. Eng. 37(2) doi: 10.1117/1.601866
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 37, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
Peter C. Chen, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Timo T. Saha, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Andrew M. Smith, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Robert C. Romeo, Composite Mirror Applications, Inc. (United States)

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