NASA's Small Business Innovation Research Program has awarded a $750,000 Phase II contract to Boston Micromachines, a company specializing in adaptive optics systems and MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products, to assist NASA's Exoplanet Exploration program.
Boston Micromachines has secured the Phase II contract based on the successful completion of the Phase I project. NASA's Small Business Innovation Research Program helps small businesses to get the opportunity to put forward novel ideas for the research and development requirements of the government.
Detection of earth-sized extra-solar planets is one of the major objectives of NASA. DMs are a key component in space-based imaging as they are capable of correcting the residual aberrations that cannot be addressed by telescope optics. Tools used in space-based imaging are poised to face unique consistency problems caused by the adverse environment wherein they operate. DMs when exposed to ionizing radiation may experience fluctuations in voltage that drives them.
Boston Micromachines will use this grant to develop a 2048 actuator, continuous facesheet MEMS DM with improved consistency to operate reliably in adverse environments, thus paving the way to advance space-based high contrast imaging devices.
Co-Founder and President of Boston Micromachines, Paul Bierden stated that the company’s MEMS DMs have demonstrated better operation and performance in high contrast imaging testbeds. This Phase II contract will illustrate the superior reliability of the company’s devices in unsteady environment resembling that in space. The company is happy about NASA’s continuous support for the deployment of the company’s mirror technology for upcoming missions in the exploration of earth-like planets.