In an online publication of the Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), researchers in the Trolier-McKinstry group at Penn State and the Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, report progress on deformable, thin, light-weight mirror segments for the proposed SMART-X mission, a space-based X-ray telescope with 30 times the effective light-capturing area as the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Prototypes of adjustable mirrors have been created at Penn State by depositing a 1 micrometer-thick layer of a piezoelectric material, lead zirconate titanate (PZT), on glass using radio-frequency microwave sputtering. By applying a low DC voltage, the material deforms to correct for aberrations caused by temperature changes and low gravity in orbit.
The Penn State team includes Susan Trolier- McKinstry, professor of ceramic science and engineering, and research associates Derek Wilke and Raegan Johnson. Read the full report “Deformable mirrors enable a leap forward in x-ray telescope performance” by Vincenzo Cotroneo, William N. Davis, Vanessa Marquez, Paul B. Reid, Stuart McMuldroch, Raegan L. Johnson-Wilke, Susan E. Trolier-McKinstry and Rudeger H. T. Wilke at http://spie.org/x91879.xml. 7 January 2013, SPIE Newsroom. 7 January 2013, DOI: 10.1117/2.1201212.004622