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Inprentus to Provide NASA with Ultra-high Precision Diffraction Gratings

H–TIDeS program will use the gratings for advancement of solar science instrumentation

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.–NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, through its Heliophysics Technology and Instrument Development for Science, or H–TIDeS, program, has chosen Inprentus to provide ultra–high precision diffraction gratings that the H–TIDeS program will employ for the advancement of solar science instrumentation. The blazed, mechanically–ruled gratings, featuring high line density and ultra–low micro roughness, will be used to observe extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation environments, such as the solar corona.

"This opportunity to work with NASA on this technical challenge fits well with Inprentus's goal of advancing the current state of diffraction grating technology. It will more than double the current line density specifications of industry standard gratings," said Ron van Os, CEO of Inprentus, in a press release. "The goal of the company is to evolve mechanically ruled grating specifications so that they can reach into a variety of new markets and applications. This opportunity with NASA sets the company on that path."

Ultimately, if successful, the optimized diffraction grating would be provided to NASA's H–TIDES program in support of its goal of developing Heliophysics instrumentation to be flown on suborbital sounding rockets, stratospheric balloons, the International Space Station, CubeSats, or other Low Earth Orbit (LEO) experimental missions.

Inprentus was chosen based on its unique capabilities to manufacture, using a proprietary nano–scale scribing process, diffraction gratings with high line densities on extremely smooth mirror surfaces. The H–TIDeS requirement for ultra–low micro roughness and high line density gratings is driven by the spatial constraints placed upon the experiment by the relatively small vehicles delivering these experiments into low–earth orbit. High line densities provide greater dispersion of the observed light, which, in turn, provides greater resolution of the signal at the detector. Greater resolution at the detector is said to provide more accurate measurements of the solar corona and will lead to a greater understanding of the sun and its interactions with Earth and the solar system.

Inprentus will provide four iterations of diffraction gratings for evaluation to establish the mechanical ruling parameters necessary to make significant progress toward the goal of a 6000 line/mm diffraction grating with < 0.4 nm RMS surface micro roughness.

Inprentus ( designs, manufactures, and sells X–ray and EUV diffraction gratings for synchrotron radiation facilities that are used for a variety of scientific and commercial applications by many Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, and government laboratories around the world.

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