Abstract

A magnetic liquid mirror based on ferrofluids was demonstrated. Magnetic liquid mirrors represent a major departure from solid mirror technology. They present both advantages and disadvantages with respect to established technologies. Stroke (from a fraction of a wave to several hundreds of micrometers), cost (a few dollars per actuator), and scalability (hundreds of thousands of actuators) are the main advantages. Very large mirrors having diameters of the order of a meter should be feasible. There are a few disadvantages. The most important disadvantage is the time response, which is of the order of a few milliseconds. Although this time response could be further decreased with additional technical developments, it is unlikely to match the speed of solid mirrors. The technology is still in its infancy, and considerable work must still be done. However, the advantages are such that the technology is worth pursuing.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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