High Performance Never Fears Change. -It Defies The Status Quo.

**Shane Santi founded Dream 17 years ago (2003). He's been studying optics since 1994 but first used a telescope before he was 10 years old (1980), which is around the same time he started building and launching rockets. He lives in the details because of his desire to know what makes things tick. He has an unquenchable desire for discovery. Each time a question is answered (discovery), it becomes knowledge, which leads to deeper questions. Those who continue to ask questions, even 20 years on, are the true subject matter experts. This drive can't be taught because it requires a fire that comes from within.
**Shane has used his passion for complex systems to create a company that focuses on the details. Small details matter and affect the final outcome of the system. Understanding countless aspects of the system to unusual levels allows for optimization of the system that others are unaware of. 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 readily apparent that many providing optical mirrors & systems were making grossly over-reaching statements because they were completely ignoring this source of dynamic performance loss. These losses are from both mirror seeing and mechanical bending of the support structures, which typically have high mass & thermal mass, as well as low stiffness.

He formed Dream in 2003 for three main reasons;
1.) Combine the complimentary technologies of modern carbon fiber & lightweight mirrors,
2.) Solve the century old problem of print-through in lightweight mirrors and
3.) Offer higher performance instruments that typically required big aerospace and government budgets at a much lower cost.
**A more mechanically & thermally stable total system can; slew faster, hold optical alignment tolerances & optical surfaces to a higher, more consistent performance level in a dynamic mechanical (changing instrument angles) and thermal (changing ambient temperatures), while being very close to thermal stealth. All of these, and many more, combine to produce instruments that break the pyschological norms of what can be expected out of an instrument. To believe these improvements have no benefit is the same argument critics of G.W. Ritchey made 100 years ago. Those without, will always try to minimize what they don't have, but desire.
**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 thermal & mechanical tolerances that are faced in modern opto-mechanical and electro-optical instruments. The use of Invar rods to control spacing of optical components requires two distinct & physically disconnected structures instead of one. The more connections, the more likely stiffness is lost, jitter is created and mass is increased. Dream is making the instrument structures out of a specific carbon fiber matrix that is athermal to the mirrors. This provides incredibly stable optical performance of each mirror because the mirror mounts are also athermal, eliminating the complexities that come with flexure-based mirror mounts. There's no need for a metering structure because the whole structure matches the mirrors. This focus on dealing with the source of the problems has led to Dream's athermal instruments which also exhibits exceptional mechanical stiffness and consistency. This inherently produces an instrument with extremely low maintenance. The extensive use of Dream's CF and CFSC in the mirror mounts, backplates, telescope tubes, mounting plates, lens barrels & spacers, etc., is ideal because they have;

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

**In 2002 Shane 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. They also had little desire to work with such a demanding and difficult customer. This began a long series of unexpected in-house developments where Dream has taken over more and more aspects of the total systems, in order to control and achieve the higher levels of performance that Shane knew were possible compared to 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 continues to use to this day; 12' wide, 6' deep, 6' high. It was upgraded in 2013 after a decade of use. It can maintain a tight temperature tolerance of +/-1°F, which is 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 bow. Look carefully and ask direct, pointed questions like, what percentage of the structural weight is carbon fiber? Are all of the carbon fiber pieces actually taking load or are they in there to drive sales? How many components use sandwich core?

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 25 years ago. This was brought on by his interest in understanding numerous types of seeing, since seeing degrades system performance. "Seeing" can come from numerous sources and each source is often complex; mirror, telescope, observatory, ground effect, etc., are all individual forms of seeing that can do nothing but degrade the performance. Understanding each source to a deeper level has allowed Dream's products to break new performance grounds and is the reason Dream is now designing ground-up facilities from scratch. There's no point in putting a high-performance instrument inside a facility that will never allow it to be used at its full potential.

One of Dream's 0.4m instruments is outperforming all other instruments in a mulit-year NASA program, with some of those instruments being as large as 1m. This validates what G.W. 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 thermal & mechanical 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 and metering systems that bring their own errors to the table, 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 through knowledge and good designs.

Knowledge is power. Ignorance is a liability.


The above strut is a prime example of the substantial gains that Dream achieves with its optimized CFSC 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.

biomedical backboard, rigid backboard, carbon fiber board
carbon fiber structures for space, carbon fiber space structures, cyanate ester, space qualified carbon fiber

Other Carbon Fiber Parts
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

40 years in professional optics, using everything from $1m & $1.5m test rooms to 144" Continuous Polishers. He's spent his career using the latest in technologies, methods, materials & science finishing precision optics.


Modern Optical Metrology

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