Development of a 170-mm hollow corner cube retroreflector for the future lunar laser ranging
Yun He(何芸)1,2,3, Qi Liu(刘祺)1,3, Jing-Jing He(何静静)2, Ming Li(黎明)4, Hui-Zong Duan(段会宗)1,3, Hsien-Chi Yeh(叶贤基)1,3, Jun Luo(罗俊)1
1 TianQin Research Center for Gravitational Physics, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519000, China;2 MOE Key Laboratory of Fundamental Physical Quantities Measurement, School of Physics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China;3 School of Physics and Astronomy, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519000, China;4 DFH Satellite Co., Ltd., Beijing 100094, China>
Over the past 50 years, lunar laser ranging has made great contributions to the understanding of the Earth-Moon system and the tests of general relativity. However, because of the lunar libration, the Apollo and Lunokhod corner-cube retroreflector (CCR) arrays placed on the Moon currently limit the ranging precision to a few centimeters for a single photon received. Therefore, it is necessary to deploy a new retroreflector with a single and large aperture to improve the ranging precision by at least one order of magnitude. Here we present a hollow retroreflector with a 170-mm aperture fabricated using hydroxide-catalysis bonding technology. The precisions of the two dihedral angles are achieved by the mirror processing with a sub-arc-second precision perpendicularity, and the remaining one is adjusted utilizing an auxiliary optical configuration including two autocollimators. The achieved precisions of the three dihedral angles are 0.10 arc-second, 0.30 arc-second, and 0.24 arc-second, indicating the 68.5% return signal intensity of ideal Apollo 11/14 based on the far field diffraction pattern simulation. We anticipate that this hollow CCR can be applied in the new generation of lunar laser ranging.
Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11655001 and 11605065).
Yun He, Qi Liu, Jing-Jing He, Ming Li, Hui-Zong Duan, Hsien-Chi Yeh, Jun Luo. Development of a 170-mm hollow corner cube retroreflector for the future lunar laser ranging[J]. Chin. Phys. B, 2018, 27(10): 100701.