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Programmable microshutter arrays for the JWST NIRSpec: optical performance

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12 Author(s)
A. S. Kutyrev ; Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA ; R. Arendt ; S. H. Moseley ; R. A. Boucarut
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Two-dimensional microshutter arrays (MSAs) are being developed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) for use as a programmable aperture mask for object selection for the Near Infrared Multiobject Spectrograph (NIRSpec). The MSAs are designed to provide high transmission efficiency for the selected objects and high on to off contrast ratio at the ∼35 K operating temperature of JWST. The arrays of shutters are produced from silicon nitride membranes on a 100×200 μm pitch. Individual shutters consist of a shutter blade of silicon nitride suspended from the shutter frame by a nitride torsion flexure. The shutters are normally closed. All shutters in the array are opened by the scanning magnetic field, and are held open by an electrostatic potential applied between the open shutters and the shutter support grid electrodes. To close the required shutters for a specific configuration, the potential between the shutter to be deselected and the support frame is set to zero, allowing the shutter to close. In this way, full random access addressing is achieved. We have produced such shutters and have demonstrated mechanical actuation and selection. Optical tests of open and closed shutters have demonstrated the required contrast for the JWST application. The MSA is a pioneering technology that provides the most capable possible multiobject spectrograph for JWST. It provides high contrast selection, high transmission efficiency, and can meet the environmental requirements for JWST.

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 3 )