Future soft x-ray (10 to 50 Å) spectroscopy missions require higher effective areas and resolutions to perform critical science that cannot be done by instruments on current missions. An x-ray grating spectrometer employing off-plane reflection gratings would be capable of meeting these performance criteria. Off-plane gratings with blazed groove facets operating in the Littrow mounting can be used to achieve excellent throughput into orders achieving high resolutions. We have fabricated two off-plane gratings with blazed groove profiles via a technique that uses commonly available microfabrication processes, is easily scaled for mass production, and yields gratings customized for a given mission architecture. Both fabricated gratings were tested in the Littrow mounting at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) PANTER x-ray test facility to assess their performance. The line spread functions of diffracted orders were measured, and a maximum resolution of 800±20 is reported. In addition, we also observe evidence of a blaze effect from measurements of relative efficiencies of the diffracted orders.
Off-plane X-ray diffraction gratings with precision groove profiles at the submicron scale will be used in next generation X-ray spectrometers. Such gratings will be used on a current NASA suborbital rocket mission, the Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE), and have application for future grating missions. The fabrication of these gratings does not come without challenges. High performance off-plane gratings must be fabricated with precise radial grating patterns, optically at surfaces, and specific facet angles. Such gratings can be made using a series of common micro-fabrication techniques. The resulting process is highly customizable, making it useful for a variety of different mission architectures. In this paper, we detail the fabrication method used to produce high performance off-plane gratings and report the results of a preliminary qualification test of a grating fabricated in this manner. The grating was tested in the off-plane `Littrow' configuration, for which the grating is most efficient for a given diffraction order, and found to achieve 42% relative efficiency in the blaze order with respect to all diffracted light.
Future X-ray missions will require gratings with high throughput and high spectral resolution. Blazed off-plane reflection gratings are capable of meeting these demands. A blazed grating profile optimizes grating efficiency, providing higher throughput to one side of zero-order on the arc of diffraction. This paper presents efficiency measurements made in the 0.3 – 1.5 keV energy band at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) BESSY II facility for three holographically-ruled gratings, two of which are blazed. Each blazed grating was tested in both the Littrow configuration and anti-Littrow configuration in order to test the alignment sensitivity of these gratings with regard to throughput. This paper outlines the procedure of the grating experiment performed at BESSY II and discuss the resulting efficiency measurements across various energies. Experimental results are generally consistent with theory and demonstrate that the blaze does increase throughput to one side of zero-order. However, the total efficiency of the non-blazed, sinusoidal grating is greater than that of the blazed gratings, which suggests that the method of manufacturing these blazed profiles fails to produce facets with the desired level of precision. Finally, evidence of a successful blaze implementation from first diffraction results of prototype blazed gratings produce via a new fabrication technique at the University of Iowa are presented.