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Proceedings Paper

Mounting large optics for space instruments
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Paper Abstract

Space based optical instruments are evolving toward large apertures and requiring high sensitivity at longer wavelengths. Instruments that collect light at wavelengths longer than about 15 microns often use Potassium Bromide (KBr) as part of the optical system. Since KBr has rather poor mechanical properties, many engineers have been hesitant to design instruments with KBr optics larger than a few centimeters. This problem is made more difficult by the fact that sensors in these longer wavelengths are often operated at cryogenic temperatures to minimize self- emission. The overall objective of this effort was to examine methods of mounting KBr optics to improve their vibrational, optical, and thermal characteristics. A legacy KBr mount is examined and revised to increase its robustness and scalability. Using finite element models and dynamic testing, the limits of the current design was explored. An alternative design using a bonded support was investigated. A new thermally engineered composite material (TECMat) was developed that appears to match the thermal expansion of KBr over a wide temperature range. TECMat's general properties and possible methods of implementing it in optical mount are described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 February 2002
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4486, Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing IX, (8 February 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.455130
Show Author Affiliations
Richard C. Robinson, Utah State Univ. (United States)
Gail E. Bingham, Utah State Univ. (United States)
Steven L. Folkman, Utah State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4486:
Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing IX
Marija Strojnik; Bjorn F. Andresen, Editor(s)

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