IARPA releases mirror RFI

On January 15, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) posted a request for information on low-cost mirrors for interferometers. Responses are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern on February 14.

IARPA’s Amon-Hen program is seeking information on research efforts in the area of low-cost optics and rapid, low-cost mirror fabrication techniques. This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

The IARPA Amon-Hen program is developing novel, low-cost approaches to passive optical imaging of satellites in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) from the ground.  Currently funded efforts for Amon-Hen utilize interferometric collection techniques.  Due to the program’s emphasis on lowering overall system costs, Amon-Hen is interested in lowering the cost of each of the collection apertures used in the interferometer.  Because the individual apertures in an interferometer collect light from only a single mode (light within the resolvable spot size of an aperture) the full field of view of the aperture can be very small with no loss of utility to the mission.  Spherical apertures are an obvious choice in this case and the manufacture of spherical mirrors provides several opportunities to significantly lower fabrication cost, fabrication time, and mirror mass.  As with the Amon-Hen program itself, however, this RFI does not seek to constrain the approaches that might be taken to address this need.  Responders to this RFI are encouraged to share all existing capabilities and theoretical approaches to solving this challenging task. 

This RFI seeks ideas on low-cost, efficient manufacture of low-mass, large diameter mirrors.  Existing applications or areas of interest to IARPA include optical interferometry. 

IARPA also has interests in: 

  • Optical Communications
  • General light collection
  • Mirror coating techniques/materials that improve mirror efficiency
  • Alternatives to glass mirror substrates

Full information is available here.

Source: SAM