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29 July 2010 Foil x-ray mirrors for astronomical observations: still an evolving technology
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Abstract
Foil X-ray mirrors, introduced by the Goddard X-ray Group in the late 1970s, were envisioned as an interim and complementary approach toward increased sensitivity for small inexpensive astronomical instruments. The extreme light weight nature of these mirrors dovetailed beautifully with Japan's small payload missions, leading to several collaborative, earth orbiting observatories, designed primarily for spectroscopy, of which SUZAKU is still in earth orbit. ASTRO-H is the latest joint instrument with Japan, presently in the implementation phase. At Goddard, some 30 years after we introduced them, we are involved with four separate flight instruments utilizing foil X-ray mirrors, a good indication that this technology is here to stay. Nevertheless, an improved spatial resolution will be the most welcomed development by all. The task of preparing upwards of 1000 reflectors, then assembling them into a single mirror with arcmin resolution remains a formidable one. Many, performance limiting approximations become necessary when converting commercial aluminum sheets into 8 quadrant segments, each with ~200 nested conical, ~4Å surface reflectors, which are then assembled into a single mirror. In this paper we will dscribe the mirror we are presently involved with, slated for the Goddard high resolution imaging X-ray spectrometer (SXS) onboard ASTRO-H. Improved spatial resolution will be an important enhancement to the science objectives from this instrument. We are accordingly pursuing and will briefly describe in this paper several design and reflector assembly modifications, aimed toward that goal.
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Peter J. Serlemitsos, Yang Soong, Takashi Okajima, and Devin J. Hahne "Foil x-ray mirrors for astronomical observations: still an evolving technology", Proc. SPIE 7732, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 77320A (29 July 2010); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.857355
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