Silicon Pore Optics (SPO) is a lightweight high performance X-ray optics technology being developed in Europe, driven by applications in observatory class high energy astrophysics missions. An example of such application is the former ESA science mission candidate ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics), which uses the SPO technology for its two telescopes, in order to provide an effective area exceeding 1 m2 at 1 keV, and 0.5 m2 at 6 keV, featuring an angular resolution of 10” or better [1 to 24].
This paper reports on the development activities led by ESA, and the status of the SPO technology. The technology development programme has succeeded in maturing the SPO further and achieving important milestones, in each of the main activity streams: environmental compatibility, industrial production and optical performance. In order to accurately characterise the increasing performance of this innovative optical technology, the associated X-ray test facilities and beam-lines have been refined and upgraded.