Multiwalled carbon nanotubes for stray light suppression in space flight instruments Conference

Hagopian, JG, Getty, SA, Quijada, M et al. (2010). Multiwalled carbon nanotubes for stray light suppression in space flight instruments . SMART BIOMEDICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL SENSOR TECHNOLOGY XI, 7761 10.1117/12.864386

cited authors

  • Hagopian, JG; Getty, SA; Quijada, M; Tveekrem, J; Shiri, R; Roman, P; Butler, J; Georgiev, G; Livas, J; Hunt, C; Maldonado, A; Talapatra, S; Zhang, X; Papadakis, SJ; Monica, AH; Deglau, D



  • Observations of the Earth are extremely challenging; its large angular extent floods scientific instruments with high flux within and adjacent to the desired field of view. This bright light diffracts from instrument structures, rattles around and invariably contaminates measurements. Astrophysical observations also are impacted by stray light that obscures very dim objects and degrades signal to noise in spectroscopic measurements. Stray light is controlled by utilizing low reflectance structural surface treatments and by using baffles and stops to limit this background noise. In 2007 GSFC researchers discovered that Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs) are exceptionally good absorbers, with potential to provide order-of-magnitude improvement over current surface treatments and a resulting factor of 10,000 reduction in stray light when applied to an entire optical train. Development of this technology will provide numerous benefits including: a.) simplification of instrument stray light controls to achieve equivalent performance, b.) increasing observational efficiencies by recovering currently unusable scenes in high contrast regions, and c.) enabling low-noise observations that are beyond current capabilities. Our objective was to develop and apply MWCNTs to instrument components to realize these benefits. We have addressed the technical challenges to advance the technology by tuning the MWCNT geometry using a variety of methods to provide a factor of 10 improvement over current surface treatments used in space flight hardware. Techniques are being developed to apply the optimized geometry to typical instrument components such as spiders, baffles and tubes. Application of the nanostructures to alternate materials (or by contact transfer) is also being investigated. In addition, candidate geometries have been tested and optimized for robustness to survive integration, testing, launch and operations associated with space flight hardware. The benefits of this technology extend to space science where observations of extremely dim objects require suppression of stray light. © 2010 SPIE.

publication date

  • October 18, 2010

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • 7761