17 September 2012 Progress in the development of critical-angle transmission gratings
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Abstract
Recently developed Critical-Angle Transmission (CAT) grating technology - in combination with x-ray CCD cameras and large collecting-area focusing optics - will enable a new generation of soft x-ray spectrometers with unprecedented resolving power and effective area and with at least an order of magnitude improvement in figures-of-merit for emission and absorption line detection. This technology will be essential to address a number of high-priority questions identified in the Astro2010 Decadal Survey “New Worlds New Horizons” and open the door to a new discovery space. CAT gratings combine the advantages of soft x-ray transmission gratings (low mass, relaxed figure and alignment tolerances, transparent at high energies) and blazed reflection gratings (high broad band diffraction efficiency, utilization of higher diffraction orders to increase resolving power). We report on progress in the fabrication of large-area (31× 31 mm2) free-standing gratings with two levels of low-blockage support structures using highly anisotropic deep reactive-ion etching.
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Ralf K. Heilmann, Alex R. Bruccoleri, Pran Mukherjee, Mark L. Schattenburg, "Progress in the development of critical-angle transmission gratings", Proc. SPIE 8443, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 84430W (17 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926827; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.926827
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