Mirrors with excellent mechanical, thermal and optical properties are suitable for a broad spectrum of modern optical application. A growing number of multi- and hyperspectral imaging devices such as telescopes and spectrometers are based on all-reflective metal optics. Optics with higher mechanical or dynamic loads are often made of ceramics; at higher thermal loads, they are made of glass-ceramics. The DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS) is a space-based hyperspectral instrument developed by German Aerospace Center (DLR). The optical system of the spectrometer was designed, fabricated and pre-aligned by the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF). The instrument was realized as an all-reflective system using metal-based mirrors using a modular, so-called snap-together approach. Parts of the system are flat mirrors for the pointing unit of the instrument. Two flat mirrors based on a metallic substrate material (Al 42Si) and one flat mirror based on a ceramic (HB Cesic®) were realized. The cost-efficient manufacturing technology of metal mirrors has an important advantage over glass, glass-ceramic and ceramic mirrors. For the pointing mirror, a more rigid and stiff material like HB-Cesic® was used. Different and tailored process chains were applied for both kinds of mirrors. The paper summarizes the fabrication of optical mirrors by i) grinding and polishing of ceramic matrix composite substrates; and ii) diamond machining combined with post-polishing techniques, like magnetorheological finishing (MRF) and chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) for metallic substrates. The process chains are described including testing setup and results with regard to different materials and manufacturing technologies. The mirrors show an excellent quality regarding flatness (lower 15 nm rms) and roughness (lower 1 nm rms, WLI magnification 50x).
For ground- and spaced based applications, Ag coated reflectors are indispensable because of their high reflectivity. The transport, assembling and storage of these reflectors takes a long time, before they are finally commissioned for the actual applications. To endure this period without a decrease of reflectivity, protective coatings with a final layer, which offers a high resistance to aqueous solutions and a low mechanical stress should be used. These criteria were taken into account for the selection of a final layer for a protected Ag-coating, which was applied for reflectors utilized in the CRIRES+- instrument (an IR spectrograph used at the VLT). Reactively sputtered Al2O3, SiO2 and Si3N4 layers were investigated with regard to these criteria. In aqueous (basic) solutions, the investigated Si3N4 layers are more stable than the SiO2 layers, and the SiO2 layers are more stable than the Al2O3 layers. This shows the influence of the intrinsic material properties. The mechanical stress of the sputtered layers depends on the deposition conditions and thus on the selected parameters. A Si3N4 layer with a high resistance to aqueous solutions also offers a low and stable mechanical stress. Therefore, the deposition-parameters which have been used for this layer were applied for sputtering the final layer of the protected Ag-coating for the reflectors.
Silicon particle reinforced aluminum containing 42 wt.% silicon (Al-42Si) offers higher specific stiffness, higher resistance to thermal gradients, and an athermal behavior combined with electroless nickel, in comparison to state-of-the-art aluminum alloys (e.g. Al6061). Nevertheless, typical surface modifications (e.g. black anodization) lead to a nonsufficient optical stray light suppression due to the high amount of silicon particles on the surface. Therefore, a coating technique is required that fulfils the optical and the mechanical (e.g. adhesive strength) specifications for stray light reduction on Al-42Si. Different components like housings and barrels made of Al-42Si were coated with amorphous NiP and with Fractal Black™ by Acktar Ltd. The optical performance is analyzed by angle-resolved light scattering (ARS) at two different wavelengths (532 nm and 1064 nm). Fractal Black™ offers a total scattering level of lower than 2 % at 532 nm and 1064 nm. Fractal Black™ has been proven as a suitable coating for components made of Al-42Si.
Several mirrors for the upgrade of the CRyogenic high-resulution InfraRed Echelle Sprectrograph (CRIRES) at the Very Large Telescope, were manufactured by diamond turning and polishing. These mirrors will be used in the crossdispersion unit (CDU) and the fore optics of the instrument. For background level reasons, the operational temperature of the CDU is set to 65 K. Therefore, the flat and spherical mirrors used in the CDU, which are made of melt-spun aluminum alloy Al6061, had to be artificially aged, to improve the dimensional stability at cryogenic temperatures. After diamond turning, magnetorheological finishing (MRF) was used for a deterministic shape correction and to remove the turning marks of the RSA6061 mirrors. To reduce the micro-roughness, a further smoothing step was necessary. A micro-roughness between 1 nm RMS and 5 nm RMS as well as shape deviations below 35 nm RMS were achieved. The mirrors were coated by inline magnetron sputtering with a high-reflective gold layer or protected silver, respectively.
Metal optics is an inherent part of space instrumentation for years. Diamond turned aluminum (Al6061) mirrors are widely used for application in the mid- and near-infrared (mid-IR and NIR, respectively) spectral range. Aluminum mirrors plated with electroless nickel (NiP) expand the field of application towards multispectral operating instruments down to the ultraviolet wavelengths. Due to the significant mismatch in the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) between aluminum and NiP, however, this advantage occurs at the cost of bimetallic bending. Challenging requirements can be met by using bare beryllium or aluminum beryllium composites (AlBeMet) as a CTE tailored substrate material and amorphous NiP as polishable layer. For health reasons, the use of beryllium causes complications in the process chain. Thus, the beryllium approach is subjected to specific applications only. Metal optics has proven to be advantageous in respect of using conventional CNC and ultra-precision fabrication methods to realize complex and light-weighted instrument structures. Moreover, the mirror designs can be effectively optimized for a deterministic system assembly and optimization. Limitations in terms of dimensional stability over temperature and time are mainly given by the inherent material properties (figures of merit) of the substrate material in interaction with the polishing layer.
To find an optimal compromise, a thermal matched aluminum-silicon alloy (silicon contents ≈ 40 wt%) plated with NiP (AlSi40/NiP ) was investigated in a joined project of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy MPIA and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF. The main tasks of the project were the minimization of the bimetallic bending, the development of reliable stabilizing and aging procedures, and the establishment of a proven fabrication method.
This paper describes fundamental results regarding the optimization of the athermal material combination. Furthermore, the developed production chain for high quality freeform mirrors made of AlSi40/NiP is pointed out.
Solder joining is an all inorganic, adhesive free bonding technique for optical components and support structures of advanced optical systems. We established laser-based Solderjet Bumping for mounting and joining of elements with highest accuracies and stability. It has been proven for optical assemblies operating under harsh environmental conditions, high energetic or ionizing radiation, and for vacuum operation. Spaceborne instrumentation experiencing such conditions and can benefit from inorganic joining to avoid adhesives and optical cements. The metallization of components, necessary to provide solder wetting, mainly relies on well-adhering layer systems provided by physical vapor deposition (PVD). We present the investigation of electroless Ni(P)/Pd/Au plating as a cost-efficient alternative under bump metallization of complex or large components unsuitable for commercially available PVD. The electroless Ni(P)/Pd/Au plating is characterized with respect to layer adherence, solderability, and bond strength using SnAg3Cu0.5 lead-free solder alloy.
The optical system of the hyperspectral imager of the Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program (EnMAP) consists of a three-mirror anastigmat (TMA) and two independent spectrometers working in the VNIR and SWIR spectral range, respectively. The VNIR spectrometer includes a spherical NiP coated Al6061 mirror that has been ultra-precisely diamond turned and finally coated with protected silver as well as four curved fused silica (FS) and flint glass (SF6) prisms, respectively, each with broadband antireflection (AR) coating, while the backs of the two outer prisms are coated with a high-reflective coating. For AR coating, plasma ion assisted deposition (PIAD) has been used; the high-reflective enhanced Ag-coating on the backside has been deposited by magnetron sputtering. The SWIR spectrometer contains four plane and spherical gold-coated mirrors, respectively, and two curved FS prisms with a broadband antireflection coating. Details about the ultra-precise manufacturing of metal mirrors and prisms as well as their coating are presented in this work.
The assembly effort of an optical system naturally relies on the degrees of freedom and the maximum allowable tolerances each optical surface introduces into the overall budget. Snap-together approaches traditionally can be regarded as attractive solutions for IR systems having moderate tolerances, where the required precision is achieved by simultaneously machining optical surfaces and mounting interfaces in a single machine setup. Recent improvements in manufacturing and metrology enable a transfer of the assembly approach to shorter wavelength applications, where sub-aperture figuring techniques are used in combination with suitable amorphous polishing layers to achieve the increased requirements on figure and finish. A further decrease of the assembly effort is gained by machining several optical surfaces on common mechanical substrates and fixing the relative position with uncertainties as low as the machine precision. The article presents the fabrication of large electroless nickel coated aluminum mirror modules having two functional freeform surfaces and references for metrology and system integration. The modules are part of an all metal anamorphic imaging telescope operating in the visual spectral range. Presented methods open up a rapid and reliable assembly of metal mirror based VIS telescopes to be used in ground and space based astronomy or remote sensing applications.
Ultra-precise metal optics are key components of sophisticated scientific instrumentation in astronomy and space applications, covering a wide spectral range. Especially for applications in the visible or ultra-violet spectral ranges, a low roughness of the optics is required. Therefore, a polishable surface is necessary. State of the art is an amorphous nickel-phosphorus (NiP) layer, which enables several polishing techniques achieving a roughness of <1 nm RMS. Typically, these layers are approximately 30 μm to 60 μm thick. Deposited on Al6061, the bimetallic effect leads to a restricted operational temperature, caused by different coefficients of thermal expansion of Al6061 and NiP. Thinner NiP layers reduce the bimetallic effect. Hence, the possible operating temperature range. A deterministic shape correction via Magnetorheological Finishing of the substrate Al6061 leads to low shape deviations prior to the NiP deposition. This allows for depositing thin NiP-layers, which are polishable via a chemical mechanical polishing technique aiming at ultra-precise metal optics. The present article shows deposition processes and polishability of electroless and electrolytic NiP layers with thicknesses between 1 μm and 10 μm.
Diamond machining of metal optics is a flexible way to manufacture structured elements on different surface geometries. Especially curved substrates such as spheres, aspheres, or freeforms in combination with structured elements enable innovative products like headlights of automobiles or spectrometers in life science or space applications. Using diamond turning, servo turning, milling, and shaping, different technologies for arbitrary geometries are available. The addressed wavelengths are typically in the near- infrared (NIR) and infrared (IR) spectral range. Applying additional finishing processes, diamond machining is also used for optics applicable down to the EUV spectral range. This wide range of applications is represented in the used materials, too. However, one important material group for diamond machining is metal substrates. For diamond machining of structured surfaces, it is important to consider the microstructure of the utilized materials thoroughly. Especially amorphous materials as nickel-phosphorus alloys or fine-grained copper allow the fine structuring of refractive and diffractive structures. The paper analyzes the influence variables for diamond machining of structured surfaces and shows the use of this research for applications in the spectral range from IR to EUV.
Deformable mirrors can be used in cryogenic instruments to compensate for temperature-induced deformations. A
unimorph-type deformable mirror consists of a mirror substrate and a piezoelectric layer bonded on substrates rear
surface. A challenge in the design of the deformable mirror is the lack of knowledge about material properties.
Therefore, we measured the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the substrate material TiAl6V4 between 295 K
and 86 K. The manufactured mirror is characterized by an adaptive optical measurement setup in front of a test cryostat.
The measured mirror deformations are feedback into a finite element model to calculate the CTE of the piezoelectric
layer. We compare our obtained results to other published CTE-values for the piezoelectric material PIC151.
Ultra-precise metal optics are key components of sophisticated scientific instruments in astronomy and space
applications. Especially for cryogenic applications, a detailed knowledge and the control of the coefficient of thermal
expansion (CTE) of the used materials are essential. Reflective optical components in IR- and NIR-instruments primarily
consist of the aluminum alloy Al6061. The achievable micro-roughness of diamond machined and directly polished
Al6061 does not fulfill the requirements for applications in the visible spectral range. Electroless nickel enables the
reduction of the mirror surface roughness to the sub-nm range by polishing. To minimize the associated disadvantageous
bimetallic effect, a novel material combination for cryogenic mirrors based on electroless nickel and hypereutectic
aluminum-silicon is investigated. An increasing silicon content of the aluminum material decreases the CTE in the
temperature range to be considered. This paper shows the CTE for aluminum materials containing about 42 wt% silicon
(AlSi42) and for electroless nickel with a phosphorous content ranging from 10.5 to 13 %. The CTE differ to about
0.5 × 10-6 K-1 in a temperature range from -185 °C (LN2) to 100 °C. Besides, the correlations between the chemical
compositions of aluminum-silicon materials and electroless nickel are shown. A metrology setup for cryo-interferometry
was developed to analyze the remaining and reversible shape deviation at cryogenic temperatures. Changes could be
caused by different CTE, mounting forces and residual stress conditions. In the electroless nickel layer, the resulting
shape deviation can be preshaped by deterministic correction processes such as magnetorheological finishing (MRF) at
The testing of a lightweight unimorph-type deformable mirror (DM) for wavefront correction in cryogenic instruments is reported. The presented mirror manufactured from the titanium alloy TiAl6V4 with a piezoelectric disk actuator was cooled to 86 K and characterized for thermally induced deformation and the achievable piezoelectric stroke between room temperature and 86 K. Through a finite element analysis, we obtained a first approximation in determining the exact temperature-dependent coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the piezo material PIC151. Simulations were based on dilatometer measurements of the CTE of the TiAl6V4 mirror base between room temperature and 86 K. These investigations will enable the improvement of the athermal design of a unimorph-type DM.
This paper describes a new athermal approach for high performance metal optics, particularly with regard to extreme
environmental conditions as they usually may occur in terrestrial as well as in space applications. Whereas for mid
infrared applications diamond turned aluminium is the preferred mirror substrate, it is insufficient for the visual range.
For applications at near infrared wavelengths (0.8 μm - 2.4 μm) as well as at on cryogenic temperatures (-200°C)
requirements exist, which are only partially met for diamond turned substrates. In this context athermal concepts such as
optical surfaces with high shape accuracy and small surface micro-roughness without diffraction effect and marginal loss
of stray light, are of enormous interest.
The novel, patented material combination matches the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE) of an aluminium alloy
with high silicon content (AlSi, Si ≥ 40 %) as mirror substrate with the CTE of the electroless nickel plating (NiP).
Besides the harmonization of the CTE (~ 13 * 10-6 K-1), considerable advantages are achieved due to the high specific
stiffness of these materials. Hence, this alloy also fulfils an additional requirement: it is ideal for the manufacturing of
very stable light weight metal mirrors.
To achieve minimal form deviations occurring due to the bimetallic effect, a detailed knowledge of the thermal
expansion behavior of both, the substrate and the NiP layer is essential. The paper describes the reduction of the
bimetallic bending by the use of expansion controlled aluminium-silicon alloys and NiP as a polishing layer. The
acquisition of CTE-measurement data, the finite elements simulations of light weight mirrors as well as planned
interferometrical experiments under cryogenic conditions are pointed out. The use of the new athermal approach is