Boston Micromachines Corporation, a leading provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products for adaptive optics systems, announced today that it has begun working on a NASA contract to substantially improve the yield, performance and reliability of high-resolution continuous membrane MEMS deformable mirrors (DMs).
NASA's Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) awarded Boston Micromachines approximately $125,000 in funding for a Phase I project to further develop their DMs for space imaging research. Boston Micromachines' project was chosen from a pool of highly competitive proposals.
In the Phase 1 project, advancements will be made to BMC's polysilicon surface micromachining manufacturing process which will result in devices with the extremely long lifetime needed for space missions. Also, changes will be made to reduce the required voltage for operation, enabling space-based telescopes to take advantage of the MEMS DMs' lower power requirements. These wavefront control devices will fill a critical technology gap in NASA's vision for high-contrast, high-resolution space based imaging and spectroscopy instruments.
"We are proud to be selected for this contract," said Paul Bierden, president and co-founder of Boston Micromachines. "Our technology continues to help advance the search for extrasolar planets which is a compelling long term scientific goal for NASA. We are happy to be part of this exciting adventure."
The awards were a part of NASA's Small Business Innovation Research programs. The highly competitive programs afford small businesses the chance to propose unique ideas that meet specific research and development needs of the government. The criteria used to choose these winning proposals include technical merit and feasibility, experience, qualifications, effectiveness of the work plan and commercial potential.