America Makes says that it has awarded US$560,000 to aerospace company Raytheon Technologies (RTX) as part of a project to improve aerospace optical components using additive manufacturing (AM).

The organization’s Additive for eXtreme Improvement in Optical Mounts (AXIOM) project aims to ‘enhance the readiness of high-precision optical components used in sensors, space systems, and other applications by developing and demonstrating novel designs enabled by AM,’ it said.

RTX’s submission, entitled Topology Optimized Reflective Optics (TORO), will reportedly focus on improving software workflows with conventional AM materials and use more accessible and less toxic materials in a laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) system to produce improved designs.

The aim is to reduce lead times when compared to conventional manufacturing and improve topology optimization (TO) and AM design, America Makes said.

‘The awarded RTX-led proposal details an approach that includes numerous tasks, addressing the relevant technological gaps for the design and production of additively manufactured optical mounts, said America Makes executive director John Wilczynski. ‘For the USAF [US Air Force], our membership community, and the broader supply chain, the anticipated outcomes of the RTX effort will be very transformative and valuable.’

The start date of the project is August 2020.

This story uses material from America Makes, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.