The Mirror Project seeks to master the fabrication techniques for making lightweight mirrors with a backing material of carbon-fiber–reinforced polymer (CRFP) used in large scale particle detectors such as the Ring-Imaging Cherenkov (RICH) detector.
The objetive is to develop manufacturing capacity for the production of lightweight mirrors, used in Particle Physics and astrophysics research. These mirrors are a component of particle detectors capable of detecting subatomic particles with positive or negative charge passing through a transparent medium, and which can be used in High Energy Physics research, nuclear physics experiments, and Astrophysics studies.
In the first stage of the project, a prototype will be manufactured with the appropriate smoothness, dimensional accuracy, and reflectivity features. In order to fabricate the mirrors it is necessary to construct a layup form or “mandrel” to shape each of the mirror parts, a physical vapor deposition (PVD) chamber to deposit a reflective layer and a protective layer of materials such as aluminum and silicon oxide, and a polishing station needed to achieve an optical-quality surface on the mandrel.