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Webb Telescope spinoff technologies already seen in some industries
Date:4/18/2012

mirrors that need to be tested in vacuum chambers where vibration is a problem.

Medical Industry: Eye Health

New "wavefront" optical measurement devices and techniques were created for making the Webb telescope mirrors. Those have led to spinoffs in the medical industry where precise measurements are critical in eye health, for example.

The technology came about to accurately measure the James Webb Space Telescope primary mirror segments during manufacturing. Scientists at AMO WaveFront Sciences, LLC of Albuquerque, N.M. developed a new "wavefront" measurement device called a Scanning Shack Hartmann Sensor.

The optical measuring technology developed for the Webb, called "wavefront sensing" has been applied to the measurement of the human eye and allowed for significant improvements. "The Webb telescope program has enabled a number of improvements in measurement of human eyes, diagnosis of ocular diseases and potentially improved surgery," said Dan Neal, Director of Research and Development Abbott Medical Optics Inc. in Albuquerque, N.M. The Webb improvements have enabled eye doctors to get much more detailed information about the shape and "topography" of the eye in seconds rather than hours.

Materials Industry: Measuring Strength

Webb technologies have opened the door to better measurement in testing the strength of composite materials. Measuring strain in composite materials is the same as measuring how much they change in certain environments. Measuring step heights allows one to understand very small changes in a surface profile and doing all of this at high speed allows the device to work even in the presence of vibration that would normally blur the results.

"Technology developed for the Webb telescope has also helped 4D Technologies, Inc. to develop unique technology to measure strain in composite materials, to measure step heights in precision machined surfaces, and for high speed
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Contact: Lynn Chandler
lynn.chandler-1@nasa.gov
301-286-2806
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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