May 7, 2012 - Marketwire -- Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC), which makes deformable mirror (DM) products and adaptive optics systems based on micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), won a Phase II contract for $750,000 from NASA's Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) to support NASA's Exoplanet Exploration program.
The Phase 1 contract was for $125,000. As NASA searches for earth-sized planets outside of our solar system, deformable mirrors are used to correct residual aberrations in space telescope optics. Boston Micromachines developing processes and manufacturing innovations that will improve the ability of DMs to correct for residual aberrations, reducing glare in the imaging systems. Phase 1 covered development and demonstration of an innovative microfabrication process to substantially improve the surface quality achievable in high-resolution continuous-membrane MEMS DMs. The project goals include at least twofold improvement in small-scale surface flatness in comparison to the current state-of-the-art, and corresponding reductions in diffraction. Learn more about Phase I here.
DMs are subject to ionizing radiation, which can cause instability in the voltages that drive the DM. This Phase II grant will enable Boston Micromachines to construct a 2048-actuator, continuous-facesheet MEMS DM with enhanced reliability to handle harsh environments.
“Boston Micromachines' MEMS DMs have enabled great performance and operation in high contrast imaging testbeds,” said Paul Bierden, president and co-founder of BMC, noting that the new funding will help simulate the conditions of space.
This Phase II award was offered based on NASA's Small Business Innovation Research program criteria, including technical merit and innovation, Phase I results, value to NASA, commercial potential and company capabilities.
Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC) provides advanced micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) mirror products and adaptive optics systems. For more information on BMC, please visit www.bostonmicromachines.com.