Research project

META-REFLECTOR - EU H2020 - Otto Muskens

Project overview

Optical Solar Reflectors (OSR) play a crucial role in the thermal control of a spacecraft, since they constitute the physical interface between the thermal management system and the space environment. Glued to the external skin of the radiator panels, OSRs are designed to reject the solar radiation and to dissipate radiatively the heat that is generated on board
META-REFLECTOR aims at developing a radically new technology to produce Optical Solar Reflectors (OSRs) and to govern the thermo-optical properties of the interface between the spacecraft (S/C) and the space environment. Based on extremely thin, first surface meta-material structures , the new meta-OSRs will combine the performance and durability of traditional quartz OSRs, with the ease of use of Silver / Teflon flexible OSRs. Furthermore, meta-OSRs will be compatible with a wide range of mechanical supports, both metallic and polymeric, including very thin (1 MIL) plastic foils that are not transparent (and therefore unfit for Second Surface Mirror SSM solutions), and that, unlike Teflon, are not subject to any commercial restriction. Finally, the new meta-OSR will integrate, on demand, Smart Radiator Device functions, that is ability to adapt its emissivity depending on temperature (low emissivity in the cold phase, high emissivity in the hot phase), without the intervention of an active thermal control system.
All these characteristics will make meta-OSRs extremely attractive for application on satellites of any use and size, including the booming small sat segment, with its specific needs of light-weight passive thermal control solutions.


Lead researcher

Professor Otto Muskens

Professor of Physics

Research interests

  • Programmable photonic circuits using ultralow loss phase change materials.
  • Infrared metasurfaces for radiative cooling and defence applications.
  • Deep learning and AI enabled nanophotonic design.
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Other researchers

Professor Kees De Groot


Research interests

  • Radio-Frequency and Microwave Devices
  • 2 dimensional Transition Metal Dichalcogenides  Transistors
  • Smart Radiative Cooling and RF control of smart glass using metal oxides such as Al-doped ZnO and W-doped VO2
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Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs

Kai Sun, Christoph A. Riedel, Alessandro Urbani, Mirko Simeoni, Sandro Mengali, Maksim Zalkovskij, Brian Bilenberg, C.H. De Groot & Otto L. Muskens, 2018, ACS Photonics, 5(6), 2280-2286
Type: article
Kai Sun, Christoph A. Riedel, Yudong Wang, Alessandro Urbani, Mirko Simeoni, Sandro Mengali, Maksim Zalkovskij, Brian Bilenberg, C. H. De Groot & Otto L. Muskens, 2018, ACS Photonics, 52, 495-501
Type: article