Fabrication of ultra thin mirrors for adaptive and space optics

Steve Miller, Roger Angel, Buddy Martin, John Kapp, Dean Ketelsen, Lee Dettmann

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We describe the optical fabrication of thin glass shells which will be combined with rigid active supports for adaptive secondary mirrors and for space optics. These applications require glass shells about 2 mm thick, with diameters up to about 1 m for adaptive optics and possibly 6 m for space optics. The extreme flexibility presents unique fabrication challenges which are overcome by a simple adaptation of traditional glassworking techniques. Here we describe the fabrication of concave spherical shells 20 cm and 55 cm diameter. A method of handling and supporting the thin substrates for loose abrasive grinding and polishing is demonstrated and some variations on this approach are compared. Extension of the technique to aspheric adaptive secondary mirrors and to ultra-light mirrors up to 6 meters in diameter is discussed. The subsequent integration and optical testing of a 55 cm shell with a 36 point active support is reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-396
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1997
EventAdaptive Optics and Applications - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jul 30 1997Aug 1 1997


  • Deformable mirrors
  • Thin shell optical fabrication

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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