Project TitleStress Manipulated Coating for Figure Reshape of Optics Mirrors
Track Code2015-054
Short Description

Novel coating method for improving surface quality of a thin film mirror

#materials #thinfilm #manufacturing #photonics #nonlinearoptics


Northwestern scientists have developed a new method for producing lightweight optics with improved image quality by using a stress-manipulated coating. Telescopes sent into space require extremely thin and smooth mirrors in order to collect X-rays or infrared light from their surroundings. The manufacturing processes currently employed to produce these high-quality mirrors are both time-consuming and expensive, in addition to being difficult to reproduce. Prof. Ulmer and colleagues developed a new approach that allows them to manufacture inexpensive optical mirrors that correct slope errors of 10-20 arc-seconds. Further, the final figure does not require active control to maintain the shape. Importantly, this innovative production method is reproducible and highly precise, having a DOC of only 0.6% in laboratory tests. This novel coating method has the potential to improve resolution of optics used for space exploration and may contribute to the field of astronomy.

TagsMATERIALS: manufacturing, MATERIALS: thin film, PHOTONICS: nonlinear optics
Posted DateJun 16, 2015 12:36 PM


Youwei Yao

Melville Ulmer*

Jian Cao*


  • Light weight optics (e.g. X-ray telescope mirror)
  • Mirrors or reflectors for satellite instrumentation


  • Improved image quality
  • Reproducible and precise
  • Inexpensive

IP Status

Provisional patent application has been filed.

Contact Information

Arjan Quist, PhD

Invention Associate 

(p) 847-467-0305