Abstract by Alexandra Davis
Physics and Astronomy
David Allred, Steven Turley
Studying Oxidation of Aluminum Under Various Thicknesses of Aluminum Fluoride
An overarching goal of NASA’s is the Origins project, which explores both the universe and ways to better understand it, especially in the extreme or vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) range, far past 10 eV (the current telescopes’ observation limit). My group and I create mirrors and protective coating layers for such increasingly powerful telescopes mirrors for the next upcoming space telescope.
Knowing the index of refraction of aluminum mirrors, we are testing the growth rate of the alumina oxide under various protective coatings—specifically aluminum fluoride, opticlean, and liquid nitrogen—using ellipsometry and SEM data to understand more about the why behind the data.