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"Working at these micron and sub-micron levels, our necessity for vibration isolation became
critical for our optical patterning systems..."

More customer comments...

Newsletter March 2024 | Menu of Newsletters

NASA Previous Projects
(Satellite/Aerospace ground testing vibration isolation):

MInus K's Assist with the Building of the JWST Telescope

All of the JWST systems-level cryogenic vacuum tests were performed at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s (JSC) Chamber-A. It is now the largest high-vacuum, cryogenic-optical test chamber in the world, and made famous for testing the space capsules for NASA's Apollo mission, with and without the mission crew. It is 55 feet (16.8 meters) in diameter by 90 feet (27.4 meters) tall. The door weighs 40 tons and is opened and closed hydraulically. The air in the chamber weighs 25 tons, when all the air is removed the mass left inside will be the equivalent of half of a staple.

Diagram of the Cyrogenic Chamber in which the JWST was tested for space.

For three years, NASA JSC engineers built and remodeled the chambers interior for the temperature needed to test the James Webb Space Telescope. Chamber A was retrofitted with the helium shroud, inboard of the existing liquid-nitrogen shroud and is capable of dropping the chambers temperature farther down than ever, which is 11 degrees above absolute zero (11 Kelvin, -439.9 Fahrenheit or -262.1 Celsius).

A key addition to Chamber A was the addition of a set of six custom Minus K negative-stiffness vibration isolators. The Minus K passive isolators do not require air and offer better isolation than air and active isolation systems. A major factor in the selection of the of the vibration isolators was that they not only isolate vibration vertically, but also horizontally at less than 1 Hz.

JWST was designed to work in space where the disturbances are highly controlled and only come from the spacecraft, while on Earth with all the ground-based disturbances, such as the pumps and motors, and even traffic driving by can affect the testing. The Minus K vibration isolators provided dynamic isolation from external vibration sources to create a near flight-like disturbance environment.

The isolators utilize Minus K's patented Thermal Responsive Element (TRE) compensator device, a passive mechanical device, requiring no air or electricity just like the isolators. The TRE compensator adjusted the isolators as the temperature changes throughout the testing at JSC, keeping the JWST in the proper position.

The Critical Design Review for Spacecraft-to-Optical Telescope Element vibration isolation system was completed one month earlier than scheduled at the end of 2011. The six Minus K negative-stiffness vibration isolators were installed on top of Johnson Space Centers Thermal Vacuum Chamber A in March 2014.

JWST needed a support structure inside the vacuum chamber to hold equipment for the testing. Engineers installed a massive steel platform suspended from the six vibration isolators via steel rods about 60 feet long (18.2 meters) each and about 1.5 inches (or 38.1 mm) in diameter, to hold the telescope and key pieces of test equipment. The sophisticated optical telescope test equipment included an interferometer, auto-collimating flat mirrors, and a system of photogrammetry precision surveying cameras in precise relative alignment inside the chamber while isolated from any sources of vibration, such as the flow of nitrogen and helium inside the shroud plumbing and the rhythmic pulsing of vacuum pumps.

Minus K's Involvement continued...

-How much farther can JWST see than the Hubble?
-Why was it launched from near the equator?
-How cold does the JWST get in space?
-How did origami play into the trip?
-Why 24-karat gold on the mirrors?

Full article...

NASA Roman Space Telescope
Vibration Isolation Optimizes Image Clarity

By Steve Varma

By Steve Varma: The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (Roman), formerly named the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), is a NASA space observatory currently in development and is scheduled to launch into space no later than May 2027.

The Roman Space Telescope hosts two instruments: the Wide Field Instrument (WFI) which emphasizes studying the evolution of the universe and understanding what solar systems beyond our own are like; and the Coronagraph Instrument to advance technologies for extreme high contrast imaging and spectroscopy from space.

In 1998, scientists discovered that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, causing them to reconsider their models for the formation of the universe. Visible matter accounts for only about five percent of the contents of the universe.

Nearly 27 percent of the universe comes in the form of dark matter, which doesnt emit or absorb light. NASAs Roman space telescope. Dark matter is only detectable through its gravitational effects on visible matter.

A significant portion of the Romans mission will be dedicated to monitoring hundreds of thousands of distant galaxies for supernova explosions, which can be used to study dark energy and the expansion of the universe.

Romans primary instrument is the Wide Field Instrument (WFI) which will have a field of view that is 100 times greater than Hubbles widest exposure. It will capture more of the sky with less observing time. Over the first five years of observations, Roman will image over 50 times as much sky as Hubble has covered so far in 30 years. The WFI will measure light from a billion galaxies over the course of the mission lifetime.

Full article...

NASA's ICESat-2 Spacecraft relies with testing using Minus K vibration isolation
Inside a thermal vacuum chamber. No electrical cords required.

NASA’S Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), which lifted off three years ago, has generated a comprehensive portrait of the complexities of ice sheet change and insights into the future of Greenland and Antarctica. The ICESat-2 measurements, when compared to the measurements taken by the original ICESat from 2003 to 2009, showed that in Antarctica the ice sheet is getting thicker in parts of the continent's interior, likely as a result of increased snowfall. But the massive loss of ice from the continent's margins (due to ocean warming) far outweighs any small gains in the interior.

ICESat-2 will measure ice heights in the polar regions

"The new analysis reveals the ice sheets' response to changes in climate with unprecedented detail, revealing clues as to why and how the ice sheets are reacting the way they are," said Alex Gardner, a glaciologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

This is one of the first times that researchers have used laser altimetry to measure loss of the floating ice shelves around Antarctica simultaneously with loss of the continent's ice sheet. The researchers found ice shelves are losing mass in West Antarctica, where many of the continent's fastest-moving glaciers are located. Patterns of thinning over the ice shelves in West Antarctica show that Thwaites and Crosson ice shelves have thinned the most, an average of about 16-ft and 10-ft of ice per year, respectively.

In this technique, AFM tips or sharp needles can be employed to transfer small, femtoliter volumes of molecular solutions, or other liquid-based ink, to predefined locations on the surface of samples.

The vacuum chamber was configured with four vacuum compatible Minus K 800CM-1CV negative-stiffness vibration isolators to support the ATLAS instrument for the thermal vacuum testing. "The Minus K isolators' primary use was inside the thermal chambers which did not have as stable of a mounting surface as we would have liked," said Brian Simpson, mechanical lead for ATLAS testing. "The isolators were critical in cancelling out jitter introduced into our system by the facility."

Full article...

Earlier Headlines:

- Ultra-Low Vibration Lab facilitates nanoengineering discoveries

- At only 2.7" the NEW CT-10 Ultra-Thin Low-Height Tabletop Vibration Isolator

- The Search for Memory in Soft, Amorphous Solids | Vibration Isolation

- Ancient Tar Pit Fly | Microscope Magnification Vibration Isolation

- Announcing the 2024 Minus K Technology Educational Giveaway to
U.S. Colleges and Universities

- Fighting Cancer with CelTivity & Interferometer Vibration Isolation

- Microbalancing Vibration Isolation

- Laser Scanning & Spectroscopy for Nanolithography Vibration Isolation

- 30th Anniversary History Timeline

- Gravitational Wave Measurement Detection Vibration Isolation

- Previous $25k Minus K Technology Educational Giveaway to U.S. Colleges and Universities

- 300 leading universities and private and government laboratories
in 52 countries use Minus K Technology

- Previous Newsletters

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Ultra-Low Vibration Lab facilitates
nanoengineering discoveries

The University of Michigan's ultra-low vibration lab (ULVL) has already accomplished two major scientific milestones since its opening in 2014: measuring heat fluxes at the nanoscale and establishing that LEDs can be used to cool electronic devices.

Noel Perkins, former associate chair for Facilities and Planning with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, describes this addition as a building-within-a-building. The Nanoengineering Lab, located on the ground floor, contains eight ultra-low-vibration chambers for nanoscale metrology, mechanical, temperature and interference testing.

Supporting these discoveries are ULVL's negative-stiffness vibration isolation platforms, designed by Minus K Technology, which have enabled record low vibration levels in all ULVL chambers ranging from VC-K to VC-M at frequencies above 2.5 Hz.

The ULVL is a part of the new Center of Excellence in Nano Mechanical Science and Engineering (NAMSE) a recent addition to the G.G. Brown Laboratories on the North Campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Noel Perkins, former Associate Chair for Facilities and Planning with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, describes this addition as a "building-within-a-building." The nanoengineering lab, located on the ground floor, contains eight ultra-low vibration chambers for nanoscale metrology, mechanical, temperature, and interference testing.

The chambers are structurally isolated from the balance of the building. Vibration isolation tables are mounted on pillars that are part of an 8 ft (2.4m) thick seismic mass, which is isolated from the chamber floors. Even researchers' footsteps will not disturb experiments.

"With the emergence of nanotechnology and nanoengineering of the last two decades, a relatively small number of institutions and agencies have been able to construct facilities for ultra-sensitive measurements, and I know of none that are focused on the mission of a mechanical engineering department," says Edgar Meyhofer, professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the university.

Article continued...(Including Custom Low-Vibration Chamber, Cooling Supercomputers, Engineering a Solution for the Lab, Record-Low VC-M Level)

Give us your Challenge Pricing Get a Quote

Only 2.7" High
Announcing the NEW CT-10
Ultra-Thin Low-Height Tabletop
Vibration Isolation Platform

The Compact Tabletop (CT-10)uses Minus K's patented breakthrough technology allowing for the best performance on the market in just a 2.7 inch tall; approximately 12.6 inches deep and wide isolation platform. This unit is as tall as Minus K's CT-2 and offers similar horizontal performance with additional payload ranges for smaller instruments..

This completely passive mechanical isolator offers 10-100 times better performance than a full size air table. It does this without any air or electricity!

This vibration isolation platform is extremely easy to use and offers our signature 0.5 Hz vertical natural frequency and ~1.5 Hz horizontal natural frequency. There are only two adjustments. The CT-10 is ideal for all types of benchtop microscopes

This is the thinnest, most portable and most user-friendly isolator ever offered that is capable of delivering this performance.

See Weight & Pricing Details...

in 2025 we'll be giving away $25,000* worth of patented vibration isolators
to colleges within the United States

(Terms & entry form coming summer 2024)


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The MK52

NASA Telescope Project

How Our Isolators Work

Spacecraft Vibration Isolation On the Ground

Minus K Technology Inc., Vibration Isolation Systems
460 Hindry Ave., Unit C | Inglewood, CA 90301 | Tel: 310-348-9656 | Contact Us | www.MinusK.com