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Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems

Evaluation of digital micromirror devices for use in space-based multiobject spectrometer application
Author(s): Anton Travinsky; Dmitry Vorobiev; Zoran Ninkov; Alan Raisanen; Manuel A. Quijada; Stephen A. Smee; Jonathan A. Pellish; Tim Schwartz; Massimo Robberto; Sara Heap; Devin Conley; Carlos Benavides; Nicholas Garcia; Zach Bredl; Sebastian Yllanes
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Paper Abstract

The astronomical community continues to be interested in suitable programmable slit masks for use in multiobject spectrometers (MOSs) on space missions. There have been ground-based MOS utilizing digital micromirror devices (DMDs), and they have proven to be highly accurate and reliable instruments. This paper summarizes the results of a continuing study to investigate the performance of DMDs under conditions associated with space deployment. This includes the response of DMDs to accelerated heavy-ion radiation, to the vibration and mechanical shock loads associated with launch, and the operability of DMD under cryogenic temperatures. The optical contrast ratio and a study of the long-term reflectance of a bare device have also been investigated. The results of the radiation testing demonstrate that DMDs in orbit would experience negligible heavy-ion-induced single event upset (SEU) rate burden; we predict an SEU rate of 5.6  micromirrors/24  h. Vibration and mechanical shock testing was performed according to the NASA General Environmental Verification Standard; there were no failed mirrors in the devices tested. The results of low temperature testing suggest that DMDs are not affected by the thermal load and operate smoothly at temperatures at least as low as 78 K. The reflectivity of a bare DMD did not measurably change even after being exposed to ambient conditions over a period of 13 months even. The measured contrast ratio (“on state” versus “off state” of the DMD micromirrors) was greater than 6000∶1 when illuminated with an f/4 optical beam. Overall DMDs are extremely robust and promise to provide a reliable alternative to microshutter arrays to be used in space as remotely programmable slit masks for MOS design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 August 2017
PDF: 20 pages
J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst. 3(3) 035003 doi: 10.1117/1.JATIS.3.3.035003
Published in: Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems Volume 3, Issue 3
Show Author Affiliations
Anton Travinsky, Rochester Institute of Technology (United States)
Dmitry Vorobiev, Rochester Institute of Technology (United States)
Zoran Ninkov, Rochester Institute of Technology (United States)
Alan Raisanen, Rochester Institute of Technology (United States)
Manuel A. Quijada, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephen A. Smee, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Jonathan A. Pellish, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Tim Schwartz, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Massimo Robberto, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Sara Heap, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Devin Conley, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Carlos Benavides, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Nicholas Garcia, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Zach Bredl, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Sebastian Yllanes, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)

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