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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

WFIRST OAPs' fabrication: prototyping phase

Paper Abstract

This paper describes the development of a new manufacturing process to directly obtain off-axis parabolas (OAP) by combining 3D printing and stress polishing. 3D printing opens up a new vision for optics fabrication by providing innovative lightweight structures which are not fabricable with traditional mechanical manufacturing. It also provides a new range of materials covering plastic up to metal through composite materials and ceramics.

The direct imaging of exoplanets using coronagraphic instruments provides a good example of an astronomical application that can greatly benefit from such developments. Exoplanets imaging is very demanding in terms of optical surface quality, however, the majority of coronagraphic instruments use off axis optics, which manufacturing of such optics could present some drawbacks: either the optics are cut out of a parent large mirror, resulting in a material loss, or the surfaces are machined with sub-aperture tools, resulting in high spatial frequency ripples which must be avoided for this application.

Thanks to 3D printing and topology optimisation we created an innovative warping harness design which can generate any off axis parabola shapes with only one actuator. We optimised the harness thickness distribution in order to reach non symmetrical deformation composed of astigmatism and coma. The warping is applied by micrometric screws and the high transmission factor of the system allows to keep stable the final error budget despite the error introduced by the warping harness fabricated by 3D printing. Several warping harness designs and materials were explored for the prototyping phase. This study is part of WFIRST satellite which will be launch in 2024 by NASA to observe galaxies via a wide field instrument and also perform exoplanet direct imaging via coronagraph. In the case of the WFIRST coronagraphic instrument, eight off axis parabolas are used to relay the beam from one pupil to another. We present the first prototyping results dedicated to the WFIRST off axis parabolas. Deformation surface results are performed by interferometric measurements and compared to Finite Element Analysis predictions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 111806X (12 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2536168
Show Author Affiliations
Mélanie Roulet, Aix Marseille Univ., CNES, LAM, CNRS (France)
Emmanuel Hugot, Aix Marseille Univ., CNES, LAM, CNRS (France)
Carolyn Atkins, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Sabri Lemared, Aix Marseille Univ., CNES, LAM, CNRS (France)
Marc Ferrari, Aix Marseille Univ., CNES, LAM, CNRS (France)
Simona Lombardo, Aix Marseille Univ., CNES, LAM, CNRS (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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