Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed super-thin mirror membranes that could pave the way for larger space telescopes. The new technology could enable telescopes that are up to 100 times larger than current ones, allowing scientists to explore deeper into the universe than ever before.

The mirror membranes are made from silicon nitride, a strong and lightweight material that is just 100 nanometers thick, which is about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. The membranes are coated with a layer of gold, which makes them highly reflective.

According to CU Boulder Professor Mihail Bora, the new technology has several advantages over current mirror systems. “The thinner the mirror, the less mass it has, which makes it easier to launch into space,” he said. “And because it’s so thin, it can be deformed using less force, which means we can control the shape of the mirror more precisely.”

The researchers have already tested the mirror membranes in the lab and found that they perform as well as traditional mirrors. They are now working to scale up the technology to create larger mirrors that could be used in space telescopes.

“By using these membranes, we can create much larger mirrors than would be possible with traditional technology,” said Bora. “This could enable us to build telescopes that are up to 100 times larger than current ones, allowing us to see deeper into space and explore the universe in more detail.”

The new technology could have a significant impact on space exploration and could help scientists to answer some of the biggest questions about the universe, such as the origins of dark matter and the nature of black holes. “This is a really exciting development,” said Bora. “It has the potential to revolutionize the way we study the universe and could lead to some groundbreaking discoveries.”

By The Impactlab