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Optical Engineering

Measurement of the accumulation of water ice on optical components in cryogenic vacuum environments
Author(s): Trevor M. Moeller; L. Montgomery Smith; Frank G. Collins; Jesse M. Labello; James P. Rogers; Heard S. Lowry; Dustin H. Crider
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Paper Abstract

Standard vacuum practices mitigate the presence of water vapor and contamination inside cryogenic vacuum chambers. However, anomalies can occur in the facility that can cause the accumulation of amorphous water ice on optics and test articles. Under certain conditions, the amorphous ice on optical components shatters, which leads to a reduction in signal or failure of the component. An experiment was performed to study and measure the deposition of water (H2O) ice on optical surfaces under high-vacuum cryogenic conditions. Water was introduced into a cryogenic vacuum chamber, via a hydrated molecular sieve zeolite, through an effusion cell and impinged upon a quartz-crystal microbalance (QCM) and first-surface gold-plated mirror. A laser and photodiode setup, external to the vacuum chamber, monitored the multiple-beam interference reflectance of the ice-mirror configuration while the QCM measured the mass deposition. Data indicates that water ice, under these conditions, accumulates as a thin film on optical surfaces to thicknesses over 45 microns and can be detected and measured by nonintrusive optical methods which are based upon multiple-beam interference phenomena. The QCM validated the interference measurements. This experiment established proof-of-concept for a miniature system for monitoring ice accumulation within the chamber.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 November 2012
PDF: 8 pages
Opt. Eng. 51(11) 115601 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.51.11.115601
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 51, Issue 11
Show Author Affiliations
Trevor M. Moeller, The Univ. of Tennessee Space Institute (United States)
L. Montgomery Smith, The Univ. of Tennessee Space Institute (United States)
Frank G. Collins, The Univ. of Tennessee Space Institute (United States)
Jesse M. Labello, The Univ. of Tennessee Space Institute (United States)
James P. Rogers, The Univ. of Tennessee Space Institute (United States)
Heard S. Lowry, Arnold Engineering Development Ctr. (United States)
Dustin H. Crider, Arnold Engineering Development Ctr. (United States)

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