A current need in space-based instrumentation is a reconfigurable slit mask. Several techniques for slit masks have been employed for ground-based astronomical spectrographs. These ground-based instruments have used large discrete components, which are impractical for remote operation in space-based deployment. The Texas Instruments' Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) was originally conceived purely for display purposes, but is a viable candidate to be use as a slit mask in a space-based multi-object spectrograph (MOS). The Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturing industry has enabled the robust integration of both silicon transistors and Micro-Electrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS) optical components into a very reliable monolithic chip (the DMD). The focus of this work was in three areas that addressed the suitability of proposing DMDs for future space missions. The DMDs were optically characterized to assess their utility in a spectrograph. The DMDs were also cooled in a liquid nitrogen dewar to determine their minimum operating temperature. The low temperature tests indicated that the DMD can operate to temperatures as low as 130 K. In addition, several DMDs were irradiated with high-energy protons at the LBNL 88" Cyclotron to determine how robust the devices are to ionizing radiation (protons). The radiation testing results indicate that DMDs would survive medium to long duration space missions with full operability. Based on preliminary tests in these three areas, the DMD should be considered as an excellent candidate for deployment in future space missions.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Spectrometer--Design and construction; Optoelectronic devices--Design and construction
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Fourspring, Kenneth, "Assessing the performance of Digital Micromirror Devices for use in space-based multi-object spectrometers" (2013). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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