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Optical Engineering

Laser radar beam steering mirrors
Author(s): Steven E. Forman; John A. Sultana; Raymond A. LeClair
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Paper Abstract

The structural aspects of developing a flat laser radar beam steering mirror for optical discrimination of an array of spaceborne targets at 10.6 p.m are discussed. Results of trade studies to determine feasible design concepts capable of meeting the system performance goals during steering are included. Aperture diameters between 0.5 and 2 m were studied for three principal structures: (1) a thin glass sandwich coupled to a deep backup structure, (2) a full-depth beryllium sandwich, and (3) a full depth graphite epoxy sandwich. The results of computer simulations of the structural performance of each of these concepts are presented, and fabrication efforts in support of these concepts are described. These studies demonstrate that lightweight, dimensionally stable flat mirrors can be fabricated with present technology. Aluminum-clad graphite/epoxy mirrors were successfully manufactured within 0.5 μm rms of a flat surface, and initial test results indicate dimensional stability after several thermal cycles. A low cost, uncomplicated method to manufacture low thermal expansion aluminum-clad graphite/epoxy tubes as backup structural members for large space-based optics was also developed. Further investigations are warranted to determine the dynamic tensile strength of glass, to develop thermal distortion compensation methods for metal mirrors, and to improve the dimensional and temporal stability of clad graphite/epoxy mirrors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 1990
PDF: 9 pages
Opt. Eng. 29(11) doi: 10.1117/12.55736
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 29, Issue 11
Show Author Affiliations
Steven E. Forman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
John A. Sultana, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Raymond A. LeClair, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


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