Shape Control and Stabilization of Thin Membranes Using Active Polymers

Period of Performance: 09/30/2002 - 09/30/2003


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Triton Systems, Inc.
200 Turnpike Road Array
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC


Triton's team proposes to develop optical quality active material films for the development of mirror shape control and stabilization systems. The development of novel lightweight space qualified optics and support structures is of vital importance to science, to industry, and to national defense. Primary mirrors are one of the main drivers of the mass of space based optical systems, as the other spacecraft masses are roughly proportional to the optical system mass. Therefore lightweight optics are an essential component of the Triton's team commitment to reducing launch costs while increasing payload utility. Electroactive polymers and photoactive polymers represent a special class of "smart materials" whose electronic and physical properties such as conductivity, charge distribution, and shape can be changed in response to the environment (voltage, light, stress). The ability of Electro and photoactive polymers to change structure within a polymer matrix in response to electro or photo stimulation has several applications for large ultra-light-weight optics. These experiments will provide a foundation for applications in the development of light-activated shape control of deformable polymer ultra-light-weight space telescope mirrors