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LaserFocusWorld | May 22, 2013
Boston Micromachines awarded NASA grant for exoplanet imaging

Cambridge, MA - -Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC), a leading provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products and adaptive optics systems, announced today that it has been awarded a contract for over $500,000 from NASA's ROSES Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions (TDEM), a component of NASA's solicitation on Strategic Astrophysics Technology (SAT).

The TDEM program supports NASA's goal to directly detect and characterize Earth-like planets around nearby stars and to search for signs of habitability and life. DMs play a key role in space-based imaging as they are used to correct the residual aberrations that space telescope optics cannot address. This grant will allow BMC to advance the technology readiness of its MEMS DM technology and demonstrate the capacity of the MEMS DMs to survive dynamic mechanical environmental stresses associated with launch and deployment in space.

BMC MEMS DMs will be fabricated and tested for use in the project. The components will be evaluated at BMC and in two existing coronagraph testbeds including Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Princeton University.

"The weight and peak power consumption of our DMS are each less than one tenth of a conventional system and the cost is considerably lower. These advantages will help reduce the cost of future exoplanet missions," said Paul Bierden, president of Boston Micromachines Corporation. "We are pleased that NASA continues to support our mirror technology and its role as one of the key technologies for future flight hardware that supports exoplanet direct detection."