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Proceedings Paper

Optical cleaning to remove particles for JWST mirror surfaces
Author(s): Lynette Lobmeyer; Larkin Carey
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Paper Abstract

During Integration and Testing of large optical systems the exposed optics can become contaminated with many particles from the various test and integration environments that the hardware is exposed to. The particles may cause degradation of mirror performance due to stray light scatter and optical throughput loss due to obscuration. Cleaning the optics can be a challenge depending on what type of particles are found on the optic, how extensive the coverage, how long they have been on the surface, the type (beryllium), size and concave structure of the optics, as well as the optical coating on the surface.

Common ways to clean optics include drag wiping the surface with various cloths and solvents; blowing off the optics with ionized gaseous nitrogen (GN2); blowing off the optics with carbon dioxide (CO2) (snow gun). With these techniques the surface could be damaged if hard particles such as metallic pieces, are pushed along with the gas or wipe. Drag wiping also had the potential to smear acrylic adhesive particles and other molecular contaminates that may be present on the surface. Ionized GN2 at low velocity does not remove enough particles to make it effective at cleaning. At high velocity GN2 can damage thin light-weighted mirror substrate as well as dislodge beryllium dust from the exposed machined surface causing a potential health hazard. It also dislodges particles in a chaotic fashion potentially causing them to be forced into other sensitive regions of the optics or system. CO2 snow similarly causes all dislodged particles to move in an uncontrolled fashion. CO2 snow also significantly changes the temperature of the optic, and in the case of light-weighted space telescope optics with a thin face it can cool the surface enough to cause condensation, which in turn can leave difficult-to-remove evaporation marks on the optical surface.

A new technique utilizing a fine bristle brush was developed for JWST to safely and effectively remove the majority of the particles. This technique removes particles in a controlled fashion making sure they do not migrate to other parts of the telescope, and uses very light pressure, which avoids damage to the coating from metallic particles. Not all particles are removed but the surface is left in a much cleaner state without loose particles present. Several of the individual types such as adhesive and large fibers can be removed later with a spot cleaning technique.

Potential damage from the brush to the surface was evaluated utilizing several different techniques.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 September 2018
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10748, Systems Contamination: Prediction, Control, and Performance 2018, 107480G (19 September 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2320691
Show Author Affiliations
Lynette Lobmeyer, Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp. (United States)
Larkin Carey, Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10748:
Systems Contamination: Prediction, Control, and Performance 2018
Carlos E. Soares; Eve M. Wooldridge; Bruce A. Matheson, Editor(s)

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