For more than a decade, cosine has been developing silicon pore optics (SPO), lightweight modular X-ray optics made of stacks of bent and directly bonded silicon mirror plates. This technology, which has been selected by ESA to realize the optics of ATHENA, can also be used to fabricate soft gamma-ray Laue lenses where Bragg diffraction through the bulk silicon is exploited, rather than grazing incidence reflection. Silicon Laue Components (SiLCs) are made of stacks of curved, polished, wedged silicon plates, allowing the concentration of radiation in both radial and azimuthal directions. This greatly increases the focusing properties of a Laue lens since the size of the focal spot is no longer determined by the size of the individual single crystals, but by the accuracy of the applied curvature. After a successful proof of concept in 2013, establishing the huge potential of this technology, a new project has been launched in Spring 2017 at cosine to further develop and test this technique. Here we present the latest advances of the second generation of SiLCs made from even thinner silicon plates stacked by a robot with dedicated tools in a class-100 clean room environment.
The Laue lens is a developing technology for focusing soft gamma-rays, that is based on the principle of Bragg diffraction. A suitable arrangement of diffracting crystals is used to concentrate a set of parallel incoming photons onto a common focal spot. In late 2014, the Laue lens assembly station (LLAS) at UC Berkeley was used to construct a prototype lens segment, consisting of 48 5 x 5mm<sup>2</sup> crystals - 36 iron and 12 aluminium. The segment is composed of 8 partial rings, each of which is aligned to diffract an energy between 90 and 130 keV. In December 2015 the prototype was tested and calibrated using the LLAS and results are presented here. The crystal mounting speed, accuracy of crystal position and orientation, and crystal reflectivity are addressed.
The Laue lens is a technology for gamma-ray astrophysics whereby gamma-rays of particular energies can be focused by a suitable arrangement of crystals. The Laue lens assembly station at UC Berkeley was used to build a technological demonstrator addressing the key issues of crystal mounting speed, crystal position and orientation accuracy, and crystal reflectivity. The new prototype is a lens segment containing a total of 48 5 x 5 mm2 crystals - 36 Iron and 12 Aluminium. The segment is composed of 8 partial rings, each of which is aligned to diffract an energy between 95 and 130 keV from a source at 12:5m with a focal length of 1:5 m.
We report on the status of the Laue lens development effort led by UC Berkeley, where a dedicated X-ray beamline and a Laue lens assembly station were built. This allowed the realization of a first lens prototype in June 2012. Based on this achievement, and thanks to a new NASA APRA grant, we are moving forward to enable Laue lenses. Several parallel activities are in progress. Firstly, we are refining the method to glue quickly and accurately crystals on a lens substrate. Secondly, we are conducting a study of high-Z crystals to diffract energies up to 900 keV efficiently. And thirdly, we are exploring new concepts of Si-based lenses that could further improve the focusing capabilities, and thus the sensitivity of Laue lenses.