Optical EngineeringComparison of fabrication techniques for hollow retroreflectors
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Despite the wide usage of hollow retroreflectors, there is limited literature involving their fabrication techniques and only two documented construction methods could be found. One consists of an adjustable fixture that allows for the independent alignment of each mirror, while the other consists of a modified solid retroreflector that is used as a mandrel. Although both methods were shown to produce hollow retroreflectors with arc second dihedral angle errors, a comparison and analysis of each method could not be found, which makes it difficult to ascertain which method would be better suited to use for precision-aligned retroreflectors. Although epoxy bonding is generally the preferred method to adhere the three mirrors, a relatively new method known as hydroxide-catalysis bonding (HCB) presents several potential advantages over epoxy bonding. HCB has been used to bond several optical components for space-based missions, but has never been applied for construction of hollow retroreflectors. We examine the benefits and limitations of each bonding fixture as well as the present results and analysis of hollow retroreflectors made using both epoxy and HCB techniques.