24 July 2014 Affordable and lightweight high-resolution x-ray optics for astronomical missions
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Abstract
Future x-ray astronomical missions require x-ray mirror assemblies that provide both high angular resolution and large photon collecting area. In addition, as x-ray astronomy undertakes more sensitive sky surveys, a large field of view is becoming increasingly important as well. Since implementation of these requirements must be carried out in broad political and economical contexts, any technology that meets these performance requirements must also be financially affordable and can be implemented on a reasonable schedule. In this paper we report on progress of an x-ray optics development program that has been designed to address all of these requirements. The program adopts the segmented optical design, thereby is capable of making both small and large mirror assemblies for missions of any size. This program has five technical elements: (1) fabrication of mirror substrates, (2) coating, (3) alignment, (4) bonding, and (5) mirror module systems engineering and testing. In the past year we have made progress in each of these five areas, advancing the angular resolution of mirror modules from 10.8 arc-seconds half-power diameter reported (HPD) a year ago to 8.3 arc-seconds now. These mirror modules have been subjected to and passed all environmental tests, including vibration, acoustic, and thermal vacuum. As such this technology is ready for implementing a mission that requires a 10-arc-second mirror assembly. Further development in the next two years would make it ready for a mission requiring a 5-arc-second mirror assembly. We expect that, by the end of this decade, this technology would enable the x-ray astrophysical community to compete effectively for a major x-ray mission in the 2020s that would require one or more 1-arc-second mirror assemblies for imaging, spectroscopic, timing, and survey studies.
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W. W. Zhang, W. W. Zhang, M. P. Biskach, M. P. Biskach, V. T. Bly, V. T. Bly, J. M. Carter, J. M. Carter, K. W. Chan, K. W. Chan, J. A. Gaskin, J. A. Gaskin, M. Hong, M. Hong, B. R. Hohl, B. R. Hohl, W. D. Jones, W. D. Jones, J. J. Kolodziejczak, J. J. Kolodziejczak, L. D. Kolos, L. D. Kolos, J. R. Mazzarella, J. R. Mazzarella, R. S. McClelland, R. S. McClelland, K. P. McKeon, K. P. McKeon, T. M. Miller, T. M. Miller, S. L. O'Dell, S. L. O'Dell, R. E. Riveros, R. E. Riveros, T. T. Saha, T. T. Saha, M. J. Schofield, M. J. Schofield, M. V. Sharpe, M. V. Sharpe, H. C. Smith, H. C. Smith, } "Affordable and lightweight high-resolution x-ray optics for astronomical missions", Proc. SPIE 9144, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 914415 (24 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055339; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2055339
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