High Performance Never Fears Change

It Defies The Status Quo

**Shane Santi founded Dream in 2003. He's been studying optics since 1994 and used his first telescope when he was 10 years old (1980). He lives in the details because of his desire to know what makes things tick. Shane's been taking things apart, designing & building since he was in single digits. This leads to an unquenchable desire for discovery. Each time a question is answered (discovery), it becomes knowledge, which leads to deeper questions.
**Shane has used his love and fascination with complex systems to create a company that focusing on the details others overlook. Small details matter and they are affecting the final outcome of the system. His own goal is to move opto-mechanical structures, optics and full systems into the modern era, since higher performance means greater scientific discoveries.

"Hello Shane, I can't think of anyone who has delved as deeply into the mechanics of telescopes as you have."
- Dream customer
**Around the mid 1990's Shane read the first of many scientific papers (similar to 3rd paragraph Answer 2 links) that quantified the much larger than expected performance losses associated with solid mirrors. It became apparent that many selling optical mirrors & systems were making grossly over-reaching statements because they were completely ignoring this source of performance loss. These losses are from both mirror seeing and mechanical bending of the support structures from traditional solid, heavy mirrors. Although fans and conditioning observatories can improve performance Shane felt those solutions left a lot to be desired considering the density of the optical materials, affinity to maintain temperature & difficulty of forcing the optic to be controlled to extremely tight thermal tolerances. He felt the best solution was to change the source of the problem, by using lightweight mirrors.
He formed Dream in 2003 for two main reasons;
1.) to combine the complimentary technologies of modern carbon fiber & lightweight mirrors, as well as
2.) to solve the century old problem of print-through in lightweight mirrors.
**A more mechanically & thermally stable total system can; slew faster, hold optical alignment tolerances better and be far closer to thermal stealth (optimal performance).
**In the years just prior to starting Dream Shane recognized that he could take aerospace composite technology and optimize it specifically for the unique and extreme thermo & mechanical tolerances that are faced in modern opto-mechanical and electro-optical instruments. The use of Invar rods to control spacing of optical components seemed like another poor solution because it requires two distinct structures instead of one. The more connections in a system, the more difficult it is to maintain stiffness. This focus on going after the source of the problems has led to Dream's athermal astronomical instruments. The extensive use of Dream's CF and CFSC™ in the mirror mounts, backplates, telescope tubes, mounting plates, lens spacers, etc., is ideal because they have;

****- low mass,
****low CTE and
****- extreme stiffness.

**In 2002 and 2003 he quickly discovered that standard composite companies had little to no knowledge of optical systems, little to no knowledge of stiffness (not strength) and the extreme requirements that come with them, as well as little desire to work with such a demanding customer. This began a long series of unexpected in-house developments where Dream was forced to take over more and more aspects of the total systems, in order to control and achieve a higher level of performance than the status quo. The benefit of the long years of R&D can be seen in Dream's in-house designed & produced stainless steel inserts, the extreme rugged performance of Dream's advanced composites (see CFSC screwdriver video), the low MSF errors of its engineered, lightweight zeroDELTA mirrors. Chasing real-world performance has to be driven by a person who understands why each parameter needs such critical control. Otherwise no company will invest the additional time, effort and expertise that is required to achieve that higher level of performance.
**As soon as space was leased in 2003 Shane designed the largest composite oven that Dream uses to this day. It is 12' wide, 6' deep, 6' high and was upgraded in 2013 after a decade of use. It can maintain a tight temperature tolerance of +/-1°F, which is roughly one magnitude tighter than normal aerospace composite ovens. Dream's resin content is 20-40x more tightly controlled than standard pre-pregs from a decade ago and 2-4x more tightly controlled than current (2018) industry-leading space-qualified prepregs. This unusual attention to detail has led to Dream's actual and measureable performance gains.
**Companies are more recently using open-market carbon fiber in one or two components of opto-mechanical systems where only 5-10% of the "carbon fiber telescope" is actually carbon fiber. The other 90-95% remain metals; old technology wrapped in a shiny new promotional bow. Look carefully and ask direct, pointed questions like, what percentage of the structural weight is carbon fiber? Is the carbon fiber actually taking the load or is it only cosmetic? How many components use sandwich core? How does the optical surface change as ambient temperature changes?

Dream's CFSC is used extensively in the structures it produces.

Dream consistently averages 95% carbon fiber and only 5% metals for the weight of the structures in its athermal telescopes. (no optics)

**Shane began researching lightweight mirrors of all types nearly 25 years ago. This was brought on by his interest in understanding numerous types of seeing, since they degrade system performance. "Seeing" can come from numerous sources and each source is often complex; mirror, telescope, observatory, ground effect, etc. Understanding each source to a deeper level has allowed Dream's products to break new performance grounds.

One of Dream's 0.4m instruments is outperforming all other telescopes in a mulit-year NASA program, with some of those telescopes being as large as 1m, proving what Ritchey showed 100 years ago; quality of the total installed system matters far more than aperture, when the other systems are ignoring fundamental, centuries old problems.

Dream's full opto-mechanical systems attain superior mechanical and thermal stability by using industry leading zeroDELTA engineered, lightweight mirrors. This provides higher resolution, greater throughput, less down time and virtually no maintenance.

By design Dream's in-house technologies produce athermal telescopes.

**Dream's advanced composites offer extreme stiffness and produce an athermal instrument when combined with Dream's zeroDELTA engineered, lightweight mirrors. Customers also use Dream's CF & CFSC with zero-expanion mirror materials as well because they offer higher stiffness, lower mass and a much closer match to the mirror material than aluminum and steel structures. This can eliminate the need for complex flexures, while offering higher mechanical performance. Dream's systems achieve the same extreme level of performance day after day, year after year, while having the lowest maintenance. What many have considered an atmospheric limit, is often traditional mirror seeing; a centuries old problem that Dream has addressed directly.

Other Carbon Fiber Parts
biomedical backboard, rigid backboard, carbon fiber board
carbon fiber structures for space, carbon fiber space structures, cyanate ester, space qualified carbon fiber

The above strut is a prime example of the substantial gains that Dream achieves with its optimized carbon fiber skinned sandwich core parts. The strut is 55.7" long, weighs only 1.85 pounds and is shown in a 3-point bend arrangement under 195 lbs of load.
rocketry, IRAC, Spaceport America Cup, soundingrocket.org

Dream's carbon fiber is also superb for zero-expansion mirror materials like Astro-Sittal, Clear-Ceram, fused silica, ULE, Zerodur, etc. Click below to see a carbon fiber structure for a 25" Cassegrain that used ULE mirrors.


Connection points in any opto-mechanical or electro-optical system are often the cause of a loss in stiffness and therefore performance. This page shows the pull-out strength of Dream's stainless steel inserts used within the Dream CFSC parts.

"Your company does phenomenal work. There is a lot of thought and heart that goes into your products. Dream's engineering sets their lightweight mirrors apart from competitors. Your engineering goes beyond the lightweight aspect. You focus on actual performance!"

- Ted Kamprath

39 years in professional optics, using everything from million dollar test rooms to 144" Continuous Polishers. He's spent his career using the latest in technologies, methods, materials & science to finish precision optics.


Modern Optical Metrology

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