Space-PHORM is a Science Foundation Ireland funded, applied research project consisting of two partners (Applied Optics Group at NUI Galway and Centre for Industrial and Engineering Optics at TU Dublin). Its purpose is to develop breakthrough materials and technologies that aim to revolutionize the capabilities of space-based optical systems.
An increasing number of satellites and scientific instrumentation are being launched into space. This leads to continuing demand for better components and to reduce the weight and size of payloads, while improving performance. Optics are a critical aspect of many systems launched into space. Conventional elements can be bulky, heavy and contribute to system complexity. On Earth, an increasing number of applications use volume holographic optical elements to replace refractive components to reduce form factor and weight and improve performance. Current materials for volume holographic optical elements are not robust enough for the space environment.
Space-PHORM will provide new formulations of photosensitive materials which will be stable, lightweight, thin and robust and demonstrate their performance in wavefront sensor (WFS) devices on a state-of-the-art Active Optics testbench for space telescopes. The materials developed will be environmentally friendly and have many potential applications on Earth, given their robustness and high optical performance.
2 PhD projects are available at TU Dublin on the SpacePHORM project:
Postgraduate Researcher 1 will work on photosensitive material development. This will include developing new formulations of two different classes of material, an acrylamide-based photopolymerisable material and a photopolymeriable glass (Sol gel). The focus will be on tailoring the materials to be suitable for fabricating WFS devices for use in space-based applications.
Postgraduate Researcher 2 will work towards developing innovative Diffractive Optical Elements for Holographic WFS. This will include the holographic recording and fabrication of a modal AHWFS, holographic phase screens and diffusers in space ready materials for laboratory demonstrators.