Design of the deformable mirror demonstration CubeSat (DeMi)

Ewan S. Douglas, Gregory Allan, Derek Barnes, Joseph S. Figura, Christian A. Haughwout, Jennifer N. Gubner, Alex A. Knoedler, Sarah Leclair, Thomas J. Murphy, Nikolaos Skouloudis, John Merck, Roedolph A. Opperman, Kerri L. Cahoy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The Deformable Mirror Demonstration Mission (DeMi) was recently selected by DARPA to demonstrate in-space operation of a wavefront sensor and Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) deformable mirror (DM) payload on a 6U CubeSat. Space telescopes designed to make high-contrast observations using internal coronagraphs for direct characterization of exoplanets require the use of high-actuator density deformable mirrors. These DMs can correct image plane aberrations and speckles caused by imperfections, thermal distortions, and diffraction in the telescope and optics that would otherwise corrupt the wavefront and allow leaking starlight to contaminate coronagraphic images. DeMi is provide on-orbit demonstration and performance characterization of a MEMS deformable mirror and closed loop wavefront sensing. The DeMi payload has two operational modes, one mode that images an internal light source and another mode which uses an external aperture to images stars. Both the internal and external modes include image plane and pupil plane wavefront sensing. The objectives of the internal measurement of the 140-actuator MEMS DM actuator displacement are characterization of the mirror performance and demonstration of closed-loop correction of aberrations in the optical path. Using the external aperture to observe stars of magnitude 2 or brighter, assuming 3-axis stability with less than 0.1 degree of attitude knowledge and jitter below 10 arcsec RMSE, per observation, DeMi will also demonstrate closed loop wavefront control on an astrophysical target. We present an updated payload design, results from simulations and laboratory optical prototyping, as well as present our design for accommodating high-voltage multichannel drive electronics for the DM on a CubeSat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VIII
EditorsStuart Shaklan
ISBN (Electronic)9781510612570
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VIII 2017 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 8 2017Aug 10 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VIII 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • MEMS
  • deformable mirrors
  • exoplanets
  • high-contrast imaging
  • transits
  • wavefront sensing

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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