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Ultra Black, Ultra-Precise, Micromachined Slits
Ultra Black, Ultra-Precise, Micromachined Slits

Date: Monday, April 4, 2011
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: 125 Steele, Caltech
Speaker: Victor White, JPL’s Advanced Microfabrication and Optoelectronics Group

Kavli Nanoscience Institute / Microdevices Lab (KNI-MDL) Seminar


This talk will focus on a successful mash-up of two disparate technologies: ultra-precise silicon and silicon nitride optical components, and efforts to increase the sensitivity of the instruments that use them by patterning them with black silicon. JPL's Victor White has been making a range of ultra-precise apertures such as pinholes and slits in silicon nitride membranes where they are a standard flight technology for instruments such as hyperspectral imagers. Slit straightness and linewidth variation is typically better than 0.1 um over slits 1.7 centimeters long. A major limitation with these has been that the rejected light is reflected by a gold coating on the slit, and must be directed towards a specially placed highly absorbing black patch. A better design would be coating the micro-matched slits with an ultra-black coating to absorb the rejected light on the slit itself. JPL's Karl Yee has a developed a robust process for etching the surface of silicon in KNI's cryo-etcher so that it reflects less than 1/1,000. White has successfully come up with a process to apply this material to his ultra-precise slits, and parts have been recently delivered to the PRISM flight Hyperspectral imager. The mash-up of these technologies is currently in the queue for future missions. The speaker will go over the technologies of both the slit and the black silicon, and efforts to extend the black to longer and longer wavelengths.

Light refreshments will be served after the seminar.

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