Optical engineering uses classical optics techniques to create novel devices and instrumentation, and the Wyant College of Optical Sciences leads the field in designing and fabricating highly specialized optics. OSC maintains state-of-the-art facilities and a superb technical staff for grinding, polishing, measuring and aligning the world’s most challenging mirrors — including those for astronomical telescopes. Students work side-by-side with experienced professionals on extensive, distinctive projects like the Giant Magellan Telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and OSIRIS-REx, an unmanned space probe that will launch in 2016, land on an asteroid and return to Earth with a material sample.
1) Development of Novel Materials Specifically Tailored for 3D Printing in Infrared Optics
In a recent Nature Communications publication titled "UV-curable thiol-ene system for broadband infrared transparent objects," a team of scientists and faculty from the Rongguang Liang laboratory introduces an extraordinary breakthrough. They've developed a game-changing photo-curable liquid material that defies conventional limitations of infrared transparency. By ingeniously combining specific multithiols and divinyl oligomers comprising only carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur atoms, this innovative approach achieves transparency across the spectrum, spanning from visible light to mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR). This pioneering material exhibits remarkable properties, including a high refractive index, excellent thermal characteristics, and robust mechanical strength. Its versatility shines through in applications like crafting high-resolution infrared optics and constructing micro-reactors for temperature monitoring. What's truly remarkable is its UV-curable nature, offering a swift and convenient method to produce thin, infrared-transparent objects. This breakthrough not only showcases a cutting-edge material but also holds promise for a multitude of practical applications.
2) Optica Publishing Group Spotlights Inflatable Space Telescope Design and Metrology
The Optica Publishing Group highlighted a paper published by a team of researchers at UArizona with industry partners, Nikon and L'Garde, for the "Spotlight on Optics" feature. The team includes students from the labs of Profs. Daewook Kim, Yuzuru Takashima, and Chris Walker at Steward Observatory. The paper “Modeling and Characterization of OASIS Inflatable Primary Antenna by Dual Modality Metrology” discusses the concept of a 14m aperture inflatable space observatory and its feasibility study focusing on the primary inflatable mirror. The antennas are innovative because they are not rigid but consist of two membranes that bend under the pressure exerted by a gas introduced between them. The new approach to space telescopes could lower the cost of astronomical satellites and lead the way for the future of large, space-based inflatable antennas.
3) All-MEMS Lidar System Demonstrated, an Important Milestone Towards All-solid-state Lidar System
A recent publication from the Takashima Lab on all-MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) LIDAR address a quasi-solid-state lidar system employing Texas Instruments Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) and 2-dimensional MEMS mirror for lidar transmitter and a 2nd DMD for receiver.
4) High-Precision Printing of Complex Glass Imaging Optics with Precondensed Liquid Silica Resin
3D printing of optics has gained significant attention in optical industry, but most of the research has been focused on organic polymers. In spite of recent progress in 3D printing glass, 3D printing of precision glass optics for imaging applications still faces challenges from shrinkage during printing and thermal processing, and from inadequate surface shape and quality to meet the requirements for imaging applications. This paper reports a new liquid silica resin (LSR) with higher curing speed, better mechanical properties, lower sintering temperature, and reduced shrinkage, as well as the printing process for high-precision glass optics for imaging applications.
5) Solidstate Laser Beam Steering Technology for Lidar
A recent publication from Takashima Lab on LIDAR is address laser beam steering by motion-less and solid-state MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) device, Texas Instruments Phase Light Modulator (TI-PLM). The research team demonstrated a quasi-continuous and multi-points beam steering by TI-PLM.