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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Analysis of optical properties behaviour of CLEARCERAM, fused silica and CaF2 glasses exposed to simulated space conditions
Author(s): M. Fernández-Rodríguez; C. G. Alvarado; A. Núñez; A. Álvarez-Herrero

Paper Abstract

Optical instrumentation on-board satellites suffer degradation due to the hostile conditions of space environment. Space conditions produce instrumentation performances changes causing a decrease or a cancellation of their features. Particularly, space environment conditions have a significant influence on the optical properties of glasses which are part of space optical systems.

Space environment characteristics which effects on the optical system have to be taken into account are: outgassing, volatile components, gas or water vapor which form part of the spacecraft materials, vacuum, microgravity, micrometeorites, space debris, thermal, mechanical and radiation environment and effects of the high atmosphere [1].

This work is focused on analyzing temperature variations and ultraviolet (UV) and gamma radiation effects on the optical properties of several glasses used on space applications.

Thermal environment is composed of radiation from the Sun, the albedo and the Earth radiation and the radiation from the spacecraft to deep space. Flux and influence of temperature on satellite materials depend on factors as the period of year or the position of them on the space system. Taking into account that the transfer mechanisms of heat are limited by the conduction and the radiation, high gradients of temperature are obtained in system elements which can cause changes of their optical properties, birefringence… Also, these thermal cycles can introduce mechanical loads into material structure due to the expansion and the contraction of the material leading to mechanical performances degradation [2].

However, it is the radiation environment the main cause of damage on optical properties of materials used on space instrumentation. This environment consists of a wide range of energetic particles between keV and MeV which are trapped by the geomagnetic field or are flux of particles that cross the Earth environment from the external of the Solar System [3].

The damage produced by the radiation environment on the optical materials can be classified in two types: ionizing or non-ionizing. This damage may produce continual or accumulative (dose) alterations on the optical material performances, or may produce alterations which not remain along the time (transitory effects). The effects of the radiation on optical materials can be summarized on changes of optical transmission and refractive index, variation of density and superficial degradation [4-6].

Two non-invasive and non-destructive techniques such as Optical Spectrum Analyzer and Spectroscopic Ellipsometry [7] have been used to characterize optically the three kinds of studied glasses, CaF2, Fused Silica and Clearceram.

The study of the temperature and radiation effects on the glasses optical properties showed that the gamma radiation is the principal responsible of glasses optical degradation. The optical properties of the Clearceram glass have been affected by the gamma irradiation due to the absorption bands induced by the radiation in the visible spectral range (color centers). Therefore, an analysis about the behavior of these color centers with the gamma radiation total dose and with the time after the irradiation has been carried out in the same way that it is performed in [8].

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10565, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010, 1056527 (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309133
Show Author Affiliations
M. Fernández-Rodríguez, Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (Spain)
C. G. Alvarado, Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (Spain)
A. Núñez, Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (Spain)
A. Álvarez-Herrero, Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (Spain)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10565:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010
Errico Armandillo; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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