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Proceedings Paper

Optical mounts for harsh environments
Author(s): Mark E. Mimovich; Jonathan C. Griffee; James C. Goodding
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Paper Abstract

Development and testing of a lightweight-kinematic optical mount with integrated passive vibration-and-shock mitigation technologies and simple / robust optical alignment functionality is presented. Traditionally, optical mounts are designed for use in laboratory environments where the thermal-mechanical environments are carefully controlled to preserve beam path conditions and background disturbances are minimized to facilitate precise optically based measurements. Today's weapon and surveillance systems, however, have optical sensor suites where static and dynamic alignment performance in the presence of harsh operating environments is required to nearly the same precision and where the system cannot afford the mass of laboratory-grade stabilized mounting systems. Jitter and alignment stability is particularly challenging for larger optics operating within moving vehicles and aircraft where high shock and significant temperature excursions occur. The design intent is to have the mount be suitable for integration into existing defense and security optical systems while also targeting new commercial and military components for improved structural dynamic and thermal distortion performance. A mount suitable for moderate-sized optics and an integrated disturbance-optical metrology system are described. The mount design has performance enhancements derived from the integration of proven aerospace mechanical vibration and shock mitigation technologies (i.e. multi-axis passive isolation and integral damping), precision alignment adjustment and lock-out functionality, high dimensional stability materials and design practices which provide benign optical surface figure errors under harsh thermal-mechanical loading. Optical jitter, alignment, and wave-front performance testing of an eight-inch-aperture optical mount based on this design approach are presented to validate predicted performance improvements over an existing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 September 2009
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 7424, Advances in Optomechanics, 74240B (10 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.824463
Show Author Affiliations
Mark E. Mimovich, CSA Engineering, Inc. (United States)
Jonathan C. Griffee, CSA Engineering, Inc. (United States)
James C. Goodding, CSA Engineering, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7424:
Advances in Optomechanics
Alson E. Hatheway, Editor(s)

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