13 January 2016 Shrink tape technique for heat-forming aluminum substrates for thin foil x-ray mirrors and the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer x-ray concentrators
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Abstract
Consistent improvements in the design and fabrication of thin-foil, epoxy-replicated x-ray mirrors for astronomical telescopes have yielded increasingly higher quality and more precise astrophysical data. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) x-ray timing mission optics continues this tradition and introduces design elements that promise even more accurate measurements and precise astrophysical parameters. The singly reflecting concentrators have a curved axial profile to improve photon concentration and a sturdy full shell structure for enhanced module stability. These design elements introduced the challenge of reliably forming mirror substrates at an acceptable production rate. By developing a technique using heat shrink tape to compress and conform thin aluminum mirror substrates to shaping mandrels, production rate improved with successful fabrication. The technique’s efficiency was analyzed by measuring hundreds of substrate profiles postforming, performance testing completely assembled concentrators composed of every size substrate, and comparing the results to simulated fabrication scenarios. On average, the profiles were copied within 4.6±3.7%. These measurements and the overall success of NICER’s optics, via ground calibration, have shown that the heat-shrink tape method is reliable, repeatable, and could be used in future missions to increase production rate and improve performance.
© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Erin R. Balsamo, Keith C. Gendreau, Takashi Okajima, Yang Soong, Peter J. Serlemitsos, Lalit Jalota, Steven J. Kenyon, Nicholas S. Spartana, David R. Fickau, Richard G. Koenecke, "Shrink tape technique for heat-forming aluminum substrates for thin foil x-ray mirrors and the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer x-ray concentrators," Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 2(1), 015001 (13 January 2016). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JATIS.2.1.015001 . Submission:
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