The Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) on Constellation-X will require thousands of large gratings with very exacting tolerances. Two types of grating geometries have been proposed. In-plane gratings have low ruling densities (~500 l/mm) and very tight flatness and assembly tolerances. Off-plane gratings require much higher ruling densities (~5000 l/mm), but have somewhat relaxed flatness and assembly tolerances and offer the potential of higher resolution and efficiency. The trade-offs between these designs are complex and are currently being studied. To help address critical issues of manufacturability we are developing a number of novel technologies for shaping, assembling, and patterning large-area reflection gratings that are amenable to low-cost manufacturing. In particular, we report results of improved methods for patterning the sawtooth grating lines that are required for efficient blazing, including the use of anisotropic etching of specially-cut silicon wafers to pattern atomically smooth grating facets. We also report on the results of using nanoimprint lithography as a potential means for replicating sawtooth grating masters. Our Nanoruler scanning beam interference lithography tool allows us to pattern large area gratings up to 300 mm in diameter. We also report on developments in grating assembly technology utilizing lithographically patterned and micromachined silicon metrology structures ("microcombs") that have achieved submicron assembly repeatability.
The proposed Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) on the Constellation-X mission is designed to provide high-resolution x-ray spectroscopy of astrophysical sources. Two types of reflection grating geometries have been proposed for the RGS. In-plane gratings have relatively low-density rulings (~500 lines/mm) with lines perpendicular to the plane of incidence, thus dispersing x-rays into the plane. This geometry is similar to the reflection grating spectrometer flown on the X-ray Multi-Mirror (XMM) mission. Off-plane, or conical, gratings require much higher density rulings (>5000 lines/mm) with lines parallel to the plane of incidence, thus dispersing x-rays perpendicular to the plane. Both types present unique challenges and advantages and are under intensive development. In both cases, however, grating flatness and assembly tolerances are driven by the mission's high spectral resolution goals and the relatively poor resolution of the Wolter foil optics of the Spectroscopy X-ray Telescope (SXT) that is used in conjunction with the RGS. In general, to achieve high spectral resolution, both geometries require lightweight grating substrates with arcsecond flatness and assembly tolerances. This implies sub-micron accuracy and precision which go well beyond that achieved with previous foil optic systems. Here we present a progress report of technology development for the precision shaping, assembly and metrology of the thin, flat grating substrates.
We are developing a Scanning Beam Interference Lithography (SBIL) system. SBIL represents a new paradigm in semiconductor metrology, capable of patterning large-area linear gratings and grids with nanometer overall phase accuracy. Realizing our accuracy goal is a major challenge because the interference fringes have to be locked to a moving substrate with nanometer spatial phase errors while the period of the fringes has to be stabilized to approximately one part per million. In this paper, we present a review of the SBIL design, and report recent progress towards prototyping the first-ever SBIL tool.
Proc. SPIE. 4485, Optical Spectroscopic Techniques, Remote Sensing, and Instrumentation for Atmospheric and Space Research IV
KEYWORDS: Interferometers, Lithography, Beam splitters, Diffraction gratings, Digital signal processing, Mirrors, Optics manufacturing, Signal processing, Optical lithography, Electron beam lithography
The fabrication of large high-quality diffraction gratings remains one of the most challenging tasks in optical fabrication. Traditional direct-write methods, such as diamond ruling or electron-beam lithography, can be extremely slow and result in gratings with undesired phase errors. Holographic methods, while generally resulting in gratings with smoother phase, frequently require large aspheres and lengthy optical setup in order to achieve desired period chirps. In this paper we describe a novel interference lithography method called scanning-beam interference lithography (SBIL) that utilizes small phase-locked scanning beams to write general periodic patterns onto large substrates. Small mutually coherent beams are phase controlled by high-bandwidth electro-optic components and caused to overlap and interfere, generating a small grating image. The image is raster-scanned over the substrate by use of a high-precision interferometer-controlled air bearing stage, resulting in large grating patterns. We will describe a prototype system in our laboratory designed to write gratings with extremely low phase distortion. The system is being generalized to pattern gratings with arbitrary period progressions (chirps). This technology, with extensions, will allow the rapid, low cost patterning of high-fidelity periodic patterns of arbitrary geometry on large substrates that could be of great interest to astronomers.
We report on progress in developing low-cost methods for shaping thin-foil glass x-ray optics. Such optics might serve as substrates for reflection gratings or as foil mirrors in high-throughput missions such as Constellation-X. Novel thermal shaping to lithographically defined pin chucks leads to the desired shape with high accuracy, thereby avoiding the need for replication. To demonstrate this method we have produced 200 micron-thick glass sheets with sub-micron flatness and half power diameter below 10 arc seconds. We also present a process for depositing low-stress metallic coatings that provides high x-ray reflectivity without significant foil distortion.
Achieving arcsecond angular resolution in a grazing-incidence foil optic X-ray telescope, such as the segmented mirror approach being considered for the Constellation-X Spectroscopy X-Ray Telescope (SXT), requires accurate placement of individual foils. We have developed a method for mounting large numbers of nested, segmented foil optics with sub- micrometer accuracy using lithographically defined and etched silicon alignment micro-structures. A system of assembly tooling, incorporating the silicon micro-structures, is used to position the foils which are then bonded to a flight structure. The advantage of this procedure is that the flight structure has relaxed tolerance requirements while the high accuracy assembly tooling can be reused. A companion paper by Bergner et al. discusses how our process could be used for the SXT. We have built an assembly truss with a simplified rectilinear geometry designed to experimentally test this alignment and mounting technique. We report results of tests with this system that demonstrate its ability to provide sub- micrometer alignment of rigid test optics.