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A Novel Method for Fabricating Additive Manufactured Lightweight, Optical Quality Metallic Mirrors

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Technical Report

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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Lightweight optics have been a focus for airborne and space borne applications in which the size, weight, and power SWaP of the system are critical. Many different methods for fabricating lowweight optics are in use today. We present a novel methodology for generating lightweight metallic mirrors fabricated by growing an additive manufactured blank, post processing the faces, coating with electroless nickel, and diamond turning. Test coupons were characterized and compared against performance specifications. The process was then used in a case study of the development of a lowweight spinning mirror, in which topology optimization was used. The blank was then fabricated with metallic powder bed fusion and post processed to deliver optical quality mirror surfaces. Through this case study the flexibility of this novel post processing method is demonstrated enabling complex metal additive manufactured blanks to be processed into high quality mirrors greatly expanding the design space. This technology has the opportunity to reduce cost and increase the performance in many optical applications.

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  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems

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