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Monolithic telescopes fabricate a reflective telescope into a single silica substrate. This approach provides exceptional mechanical stability because the relative position of the mirrors is permanently polished into a monolithic substrate and is inherently temperature insensitive due to the low CTE of fused silica (0.5 ppm/K). Once fabricated, monolithic telescopes can be taken for granted because the mirrors will always be aligned, even after subject to extreme force like during launch into space. There is a need for telescope designs that achieve good image quality at wide field of view compared to conventional Cassegrain designs.


This invention achieves both a wider field of view and faster f-number within a monolithic substrate by incorporating an aspheric convex refractive first surface and a planar aspheric field corrector surface on the final refractive surface. These two refractive surfaces work in conjunction with a concave aspheric primary and convex aspheric secondary mirror (e.g. Cassegrain type) to improve high-order off-axis aberration correction (e.g. coma, astigmatism) thereby permitting wider fields of view and at faster f-numbers. The additional refractive surfaces are fabricated into the same monolithic substrate.

  • Excellent mechanical and thermal stability.
  • Achieves good image quality at wide field of view and low f#.
  • Reduced complexity and cost compared to optomechanical approaches.
  • No need for adjustment or focusing.
  • Compatible with space deployments and operations.
  • Can be used in any application requiring fixed reflective optical elements.
Potential Applications
  • Space situational awareness and navigation
  • Remote sensing
Development Status

Current stage of technology development:  TRL4-5

LLNL has filed for patent protection on this invention.

U.S. Patent Application No. 2023/0288692 Widefield Catadioptric Monolithic Telescopes published 9/14/2023

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