What are foam optics and mirrors?Foam optics and mirrors are devices used in airborne laser communications. They support unparalleled heat transfer and can withstand multiple micrometer strikes without failing.
Why use metal foam for optics and mirrors?
The Duocel® aluminum foam composite opticals are fabricated for airborne laser communication systems and provides an extremely stable isothermalized platform. The aluminum foam core allows unprecedented heat transfer and is capable of sustaining multiple strikes by micrometeorites without completely failing like a conventional mirror.
Metal foam, usually aluminum, is used in conjunction with optics and mirrors in certain applications where specific properties of the foam are beneficial:
Structural Support – Metal foam can provide structural support for large and heavy optics or mirrors. Its lightweight yet strong nature can be utilized to create sturdy and stable frameworks or mounts for holding and positioning the optical elements.
Thermal Management – Metal foam’s high thermal conductivity can be advantageous in optical systems where thermal management is critical. It can be used as a heat sink or heat spreader to dissipate heat generated by high-power optical components, such as laser diodes or light sources. By efficiently managing heat, metal foam helps prevent thermal damage to the optics and ensures stable performance.
Vibration Damping – Metal foam’s ability to absorb and dampen vibrations can be useful in optical systems that require stability and precision. By incorporating metal foam within the optical setup or as part of the mirror mount, it can help reduce the impact of vibrations and provide a stable platform for accurate optical alignment.
Shielding and EMI Protection – Metal foam’s electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding properties make it suitable for applications where electromagnetic compatibility is crucial. It can be used to provide shielding around sensitive optical components, protecting them from external electromagnetic interference or preventing the emission of unwanted electromagnetic radiation.
Who uses Duocel® foam optics and mirrors?
ERG was proud to supply the Star Dust satellite with Duocel® aluminum core optics to communicate.