AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 8. Instruments for HST and NGST
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[8.08] Development of Silicon Micromirrors for the Next Generation Space Telescope

E. J. Garcia, M. A. Polosky, G. E. Sleefe, R. Habbit, J. C. Zamora (Sandia National Laboratories), M. A. Greenhouse (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

This paper describes how advanced surface micromachining (SMM) technology is being used to develop prototype cryogenic micromirror arrays for evaluation as an instrument optical component for the NGST. When used as a spectrograph reflective slit mask, these arrays can yield a factor of ~1000 reduction in mass and power over, traditional motor-driven slit wheels used on HST instruments. The advantage of micromirrors as a new approach to instrument aperture control is particularly apparent when it is coupled with new large format focal plane arrays to enable multi-object spectroscopy. In this application, the micromirror-enabled capability goes beyond mass and power reduction to offer increased observing efficiency (targets/hour). In the case of NGST, a factor of 100 improvement in efficiency relative to traditional instrument designs has been estimated.

Surface micromachining uses fabrication processes adapted from integrated circuit manufacturing to build microscopic-sized electromechanical devices from polycrystalline silicon. Because these devices can be batch fabricated thousands or even millions of devices can be constructed on a single wafer at costs several orders of magnitude less than conventionally fabricated devices.

This paper will describe the design and operation of prototype mirror devices that are currently under development. We have recently demonstrated the feasibility of operating micromirrors at cryogenic temperatures. A packaged unit with its associated interconnects has been successfully operated at temperatures less than 30 K. The ability to function at the cryogenic temperatures encountered in certain space applications is a major milestone for microsystems.

This work is funded by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Dept. of Energy under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

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