AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 18. Instrumentation for Infrared and Optical Observing
Poster, Monday, January 6, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[18.03] A New, Nanotechnology Process for Making Precise Infrared Filters using Layered Metal Mesh Grids

H. A. Smith, O. Sternberg (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), J. Fischer, M. Rebbert, K. Stewart, B. Hicks (NRL), M. Greenhouse (NASA GSFC)

We have successfully developed a technique that uses nanotechnology and photolithographic processing to make precise infrared filters, including band-pass and narrow-band filters, and cut-on and cutoff filters. The optics consist of precisely layered stacks of metal grids in patterns designed especially for each infrared application, in close analogy with submillimeter and millimeter wave filters that also use metallic grids.

The challenge for this kind of infrared optics has been three-fold: to identify ways of precisely spacing the layers without introducing excessively absorbant materials; to perfect the actual fabrication steps, including the alignment control; and to develop computer models to predict accurately the final products so that expensive mistakes can be avoided. We have had reasonable successes in all these areas. To date we have made filters in the >30 micron region, and we expect that useful devices can be made that work below 20 microns.

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