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.<p> </p>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.<p> </p>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.
The extremely low surface brightness sensitivity required to observe the ultra-low-surface brightness universe lead us to propose MESSIER, a space mission designed to drift-scan the entire sky in 6 filters covering the 200-1000 nm range and reaching unprecedented surface brightness levels of 34 and 37 mag arcsec<sup>2</sup> in the optical and UV, respectively. Here, we present the ground-based MESSIER pathfinder aimed at testing several breakthrough technologies involved (e.g. curved detectors) and carrying out observations. We present here a detailed analysis of the optical quality achievable through photon Monte Carlo simulations of the system, including atmospheric effects.
Many are the optical designs that generate curved focal planes for which field flattener must be implemented. This generally implies the use of more optical elements and a consequent loss of throughput and performances. With the recent development of curved sensor this can be avoided. This new technology has been gathering more and more attention from a very broad community, as the potential applications are multiple: from low-cost commercial to high impact scientific systems, to mass-market and on board cameras, defense and security, and astronomical community. <p> </p>We describe here the first concave curved CMOS detector developed within a collaboration between CNRS-LAM and CEA-LETI. This fully-functional detector 20Mpix (CMOSIS CMV20000) has been curved down to a radius of R<sub>c</sub> =150mm over a size of 24x32mm<sup>2</sup>. We present here the methodology adopted for its characterization and describe in detail all the results obtained. We also discuss the main components of noise, such as the readout noise, the fixed pattern noise and the dark current. Finally we provide a comparison with the at version of the same sensor in order to establish the impact of the curving process on the main characteristics of the sensor.
Exoplanet imaging requires super polished off-axis parabolas (OAP) with the utmost surface quality. In this paper we describe an innovative manufacturing process combining 3D printing and stress polishing, to create a warping harness capable of producing any off axis parabola profile with a single actuator. The warping harness is manufactured by 3D printing. This method will be applied to the production of the WFIRST coronagraph's off axis parabolas. The evolution of the warping harness design is presented, starting from a ring warping harness generating astigmatism, to an innovative thickness distribution harness optimised to generate an off axis parabola shape. Several design options are available for the prototyping phase, with their advantages and disadvantages which will be discussed.
Many astronomical optical systems have the disadvantage of generating curved focal planes requiring flattening optical elements to project the corrected image on at detectors. The use of these designs in combination with a classical at sensor implies an overall degradation of throughput and system performances to obtain the proper corrected image. With the recent development of curved sensor this can be avoided. This new technology has been gathering more and more attention from a very broad community, as the potential applications are multiple: from low-cost commercial to high impact scientific systems, to mass-market and on board cameras, defense and security, and astronomical community. We describe here the first concave curved CMOS detector developed within a collaboration between CNRS- LAM and CEA-LETI. This fully-functional detector 20 Mpix (CMOSIS CMV20000) has been curved down to a radius of R<sub>c</sub> =150mm over a size of 24x32mm<sup>2</sup>. We present here the methodology adopted for its characterization and describe in detail all the results obtained. We also discuss the main components of noise, such as the readout noise, the fixed pattern noise and the dark current. Finally we provide a comparison with the at version of the same sensor in order to establish the impact of the curving process on the main characteristics of the sensor.
Additive manufacturing (AM), more commonly known as 3D printing, is a commercially established technology for rapid prototyping and fabrication of bespoke intricate parts. To date, research quality mirror prototypes are being trialled using additive manufacturing, where a high quality reflective surface is created in a post-processing step. One advantage of additive manufacturing for mirror fabrication is the ease to lightweight the structure: the design is no longer confined by traditional machining (mill, drill and lathe) and optimised/innovative structures can be used. The end applications of lightweight AM mirrors are broad; the motivation behind this research is low mass mirrors for space-based astronomical or Earth Observation imaging. An example of a potential application could be within nano-satellites, where volume and mass limits are critical. The research presented in this paper highlights the early stage experimental development in AM mirrors and the future innovative designs which could be applied using AM.<p> </p> The surface roughness on a diamond-turned AM aluminium (AlSi<sub>10</sub>Mg) mirror is presented which demonstrates the ability to achieve an average roughness of ~3.6nm root mean square (RMS) measured over a 3 x 3 grid. A Fourier transform of the roughness data is shown which deconvolves the roughness into contributions from the diamond-turning tooling and the AM build layers. In addition, two nickel phosphorus (NiP) coated AlSi<sub>10</sub>Mg AM mirrors are compared in terms of surface form error; one mirror has a generic sandwich lightweight design at 44% the mass of a solid equivalent, prior to coating and the second mirror was lightweighted further using the finite element analysis tool topology optimisation. The surface form error indicates an improvement in peak-to-valley (PV) from 323nm to 204nm and in RMS from 83nm to 31nm for the generic and optimised lightweighting respectively while demonstrating a weight reduction between the samples of 18%. The paper concludes with a discussion of the breadth of AM design that could be applied to mirror lightweighting in the future, in particular, topology optimisation, tessellating polyhedrons and Voronoi cells are presented.
The construction of the next generation of 40 m-class astronomical telescopes poses an enormous challenge for the design of their instruments and the manufacture of their optics. Optical elements typically increase in both size and number, placing ever more demands on the system manufacturing and alignment tolerances. This challenge can be met by using the wider design space offered by freeform optics, by for instance allowing highly aspherical surfaces. Optical designs incorporating freeform optics can achieve a better performance with fewer components. This also leads to savings in volume and mass and, potentially, cost.<p> </p> This paper describes the characterization of the FAME system (freeform active mirror experiment). The system consists of a thin hydroformed face sheet that is produced to be close to the required surface shape, a highly controllable active array that provides support and the ability to set local curvature of the optical surface and the actuator layout with control electronics that drives the active array.<p> </p> A detailed characterisation of the fully-assembled freeform mirror was carried out with the physical and optical properties determined by coordinate measurements (CMM), laser scanning, spherometry and Fizeau interferometry. The numerical model of the mirror was refined to match the as-built features and to predict the performance more accurately.<p> </p> Each of the 18 actuators was tested individually and the results allow the generation of look-up tables providing the force on the mirror for each actuator setting. The actuators were modelled with finite element analysis and compared to the detailed measurements to develop a closed-loop system simulation. After assembling the actuators in an array, the mirror surface was measured again using interferometry. The influence functions and Eigen-modes were also determined by interferometry and compared to the FEA results.
In the present paper we consider a family of unobscured telescope designs with curved detectors. They are based on classical two-mirror schemes – Ritchey-Chretien, Gregorian and Couder telescopes. It is shown that all the designs provide nearly diffraction limited image quality in the visible domain for 0.4º×0.4º field of view with the f-number of 7. We also provide a brief ghost analysis and point on special features of the systems with curved detectors. Finally, the detector surface shape obtained in each case is analyzed and its’ technological feasibility is demonstrated.
In the present paper we compare different approaches for estimation of freeform and aspherical surfaces complexity. We consider two unobscured all-reflective telescope designs: a narrow-field Korsch-type system with a slow freeform secaondary and a wide-field Schwarzschild-type system with an extreme freeform secondary. The performance improvement obtained due to the freeforms use is demonstrated. The Korsch telescope provides a diffraction-limited image quality for a small field 0.8x0.1° at F/3. The Schwarzschild design covers a large field of 20x8° and allows to increase the aperture from F/6.7 to F/3. Also, we analyze the freeforms shapes using different techniques. It is shown that the usual measures like root-mean square deviation of the sag are ineffective. One of the recommended way to estimate the surface complexity is computation of the residual slope and its conversion into fringes frequency. A simpler alternative is computation of the sag deviation integral.
In the present paper we consider quantitative estimation of the tolerances widening in optical systems with curved detectors. The gain in image quality allows to loosen the margins for manufacturing and assembling errors. On another hand, the requirements for the detector shape and positioning become more tight. We demonstrate both of the effects on example of two optical designs. The first one is a rotationally-symmetrical lens with focal length of 25 mm, f-ratio of 3.5 and field of view equal to 72°, working in the visible domain. The second design is a three-mirror anastigmat telescope with focal length of 250 mm, f-ratio of 2.0 and field of view equal to 4°x4°. In both of the cases use of curved detectors allow to increase the image quality and substantially decrease the requirements for manufacturing precision.
3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, offers a new vision for optical fabrication in term of achievable optical quality and reduction of weight and cost. In this paper we describe two different ways to use this technique in the fabrication process. The first method makes use of 3D printing in the fabrication of warping harnesses for stress polishing, and we apply that to the fabrication of the WFIRST coronagraph off axis parabolas. The second method considers a proof of concept for 3D printing of lightweight X-Ray mirrors, targeting the next generation of X-rays telescopes. Stress polishing is well suited for the fabrication of the high quality off axis parabolas required by the coronagraph to image exoplanets.. Here we describe a new design of warping harness which can generate astigmatism and coma with only one actuator. The idea is to incorporate 3D printing in the manufacturing of the warping harness. The method depicted in this paper demonstrates that we reach the tight precision required at the mirrors surface. Moreover the error introduced by the warping harness fabricated by 3D printing does not impact the final error budget. Concerning the proof of concept project, we investigate 3D printing towards lightweight X-ray mirrors. We present the surface metrology of test samples fabricated by stereo lithography (SLA) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) with different materials. The lightweighting of the samples is composed of a series of arches. By complementing 3D printing with finite element analysis topology optimization we can simulate a specific optimum shape for the given input parameters and external boundary conditions. The next set of prototypes is designed taking to account the calculation of topology optimisation.
Future X-ray astronomy missions require light-weight thin shells to provide large collecting areas within the weight limits of launch vehicles, whilst still delivering angular resolutions close to that of Chandra (0.5 arc seconds). Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a well-established technology with the ability to construct or ‘print’ intricate support structures, which can be both integral and light-weight, and is therefore a candidate technique for producing shells for space-based X-ray telescopes. The work described here is a feasibility study into this technology for precision X-ray optics for astronomy and has been sponsored by the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme. The goal of the project is to use a series of test samples to trial different materials and processes with the aim of developing a viable path for the production of an X-ray reflecting prototype for astronomical applications. The initial design of an AM prototype X-ray shell is presented with ray-trace modelling and analysis of the X-ray performance. The polishing process may cause print-through from the light-weight support structure on to the reflecting surface. Investigations in to the effect of the print-through on the X-ray performance of the shell are also presented.
Additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, has become a commercially established technology for rapid prototyping and the fabrication of bespoke intricate parts. Optical components, such as mirrors and lenses, are now being fabricated via additive manufacturing, where the printed substrate is polished in a post-processing step. One application of additively manufactured optics could be within the astronomical X-ray community, where there is a growing need to demonstrate thin, lightweight, high precision optics for a beyond Chandra style mission. This paper will follow a proof-of-concept investigation, sponsored by the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme, into the feasibility of applying additive manufacturing in the production of thin, lightweight, precision X-ray optics for astronomy. One of the benefits of additive manufacturing is the ability to construct intricate lightweighting, which can be optimised to minimise weight while ensuring rigidity. This concept of optimised lightweighting will be applied to a series of polished additively manufactured test samples and experimental data from these samples, including an assessment of the optical quality and the magnitude of any print-through, will be presented. In addition, the finite element analysis optimisations of the lightweighting development will be discussed.
Over the recent years, a huge interest has grown for curved electronics, particularly for opto-electronics systems. Indeed, curved sensors help the correction of off-axis aberrations, such as Petzval Field Curvature and astigmatism. In this paper, we describe benefits of curvature and tunable curvature on an existing fish-eye lens. We proposed a new design architecture, compact and with a high resolution, developed specifically for a curved image sensor. We discuss about aberrations and effect of higher sensor curvature on third order aberrations. Besides, we show results of sensors’ mechanical limits and its electro-optical characterization. Finally, all these experiments and optical results demonstrate the feasibility and high performances of systems with curved sensors.