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11 October 2004 Hard x-ray optics: from HEFT to NuSTAR
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Focusing optics are now poised to dramatically improve the sensitivity and angular resolution at energies above 10 keV to levels that were previously unachievable by the past generation of background limited collimated and coded-aperture instruments. Active balloon programs (HEFT), possible Explorer-class satellites (NuSTAR - currently under Phase A study), and major X-ray observatories (Con-X HXT) using focusing optics will play a major role in future observations of a wide range of objects including young supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei, and galaxy clusters. These instruments call for low cost, grazing incidence optics coated with depth-graded multilayer films that can be nested to achieve large collecting areas. Our approach to building such instruments is to mount segmented mirror shells with our novel error-compensating, monolithic assembly and alignment (EMAAL) procedure. This process involves constraining the mirror segments to successive layers of graphite rods that are precisely machined to the required conic-approximation Wolter-I geometry. We present results of our continued development of thermally formed glass substrates that have been used to build three HEFT telescopes and are proposed for NuSTAR. We demonstrate how our experience in manufacturing complete HEFT telescopes, as well as our experience developing higher performance prototype optics, will lead to the successful production of telescopes that meet the NuSTAR design goals.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

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