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24 July 2014 Making the ATHENA optics using silicon pore optics
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Silicon Pore Optics, after 10 years of development, forms now the basis for future large (L) class astrophysics Xray observatories, such as the ATHENA mission to study the hot and energetic universe, matching the L2 science theme recently selected by ESA for launch in 2028. The scientific requirements result in an optical design that demands high angular resolution (5“) and large effective area (2 m2 at a few keV) of an X-ray lens with a focal length of 12 to14 m. Silicon Pore Optics was initially based on long (25 to 50 m) focal length telescope designs, which could achieve several arc second angular resolution by curving the silicon mirror in only one direction (conical approximation). With the advent of shorter focal length missions we started to develop mirrors having a secondary curvature, allowing the production of Wolter-I type optics, which are on axis aberration-free. In this paper we will present the new manufacturing process, discuss the impact of the ATHENA optics design on the technology development and present the results of the latest X-ray test campaigns.
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