18 July 2016 A concept for a soft gamma-ray concentrator using thin-film multilayer structures
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Abstract
We are investigating the use of thin-film, multilayer structures to form optics capable of concentrating soft gamma rays with energies greater than 100 keV, beyond the reach of current grazing-incidence hard X-ray mirrors. Alternating layers of low- and high-density materials (e.g., polymers and metals) will channel soft gamma-ray photons via total external reflection. A suitable arrangement of bent structures will then concentrate the incident radiation to a point. Gamma-ray optics made in this way offer the potential for soft gamma-ray telescopes with focal lengths of less than 10 m, removing the need for formation flying spacecraft and opening the field up to balloon-borne instruments. Following initial investigations conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory, we have constructed and tested a prototype structure using spin coating combined with magnetron sputtering. We are now investigating whether it is possible to grow such flexible multi-layer structures with the required thicknesses and smoothness more quickly by using magnetron sputter and pulsed laser deposition techniques. We present the latest results of our fabrication and gamma-ray channeling tests, and describe our modeling of the sensitivity of potential concentrator-based telescope designs. If successful, this technology offers the potential for transformational increases in sensitivity while dramatically improving the system-level performance of future high-energy astronomy missions through reduced mass and complexity.
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Peter F. Bloser, Farzane Shirazi, Olof Echt, James E. Krzanowski, Jason S. Legere, Mark L. McConnell, John G. Tsavalas, Emily N. Wong, Paul H. Aliotta, "A concept for a soft gamma-ray concentrator using thin-film multilayer structures", Proc. SPIE 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99056L (18 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233386; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233386
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