Laminated electroformed shape memory composite for deployable light-weight optics

Steven J. Varlese*, Melville Ulmer, Lisa R. Hardaway, Matthew Everhart, Semyon Vaynman, Gary Emerson, Michael Graham, Jonathan Echt, Matvey Farber, Stephen Vining

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Advances in earth and space instrumentation will come from future optical systems that provide large, deployable collecting areas of low areal mass density (< 10 kg/sq meter), affordable costs of fabrication ($10k/sq meter), and production times of a few years or less. Laminated optics comprised of an electroformed, replicated nickel optical surface supported by a reinforced shape memory resin composite substrate have the potential to meet the requirements for rapid fabrication of lightweight, monolithic, stowable, large optics, where large is defined to be 8 meters in diameter or larger. The high stiffness of a deployable composite substrate and a high quality, thin, electroformed metal optical surface combine the best properties of these disparate materials to provide a robust yet lightweight mirror system to meet the needs of future missions. The unique properties of shape memory resins in the composite provide a larger range of design parameters for production of usable optics. Results are presented from optical and structural tests of various surface and substrate constructions that may be solutions to the key issues, which are primarily material interface stress control, stability, and deployment repeatability. Initial requirements analysis and material properties measurements that determine both system and individual material target performance are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2004
EventEarth Observing Systems IX - Denver, CO, United States
Duration: Aug 2 2004Aug 6 2004


  • Composites
  • Electroformed nickel
  • Laminated optics
  • Lightweight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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