Ultra-Lightweight "Meter" Class Optics

Period of Performance: 03/02/1998 - 06/02/2000

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Composite Optics, Inc.
9616 Distribution Ave.
San Diego, CA 92121
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

Considerable progress has been made in recent years toward the design and production of lightweight, visible quality optics made from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composites. These CFRP optics can weigh as little as one third as much as conventional lightweighted glass or SiC alternatives. Composite Optics, Incorporated (COI) has successfully produced meter-class ultra-lightweight CFRP optics down to the near infrared range; however, additional development is required to move this technology into the visible portion of the spectrum. The objectives of this Phase II SBIR program are to advance the development of CFRP-based mirror technology into the visible range, and demonstrate this technology in the production of the optics required for the ground demonstration and flight experiment phase of the Air Force Research Lab's UltraLITE program. A hybrid composite-backup/glass-facesheet approach is pursued to meet the optical quality, size, and areal density (