Future astronomical X-ray spectrometer missions call for high spectral resolution in conjunction with high throughput. To achieve both of these requirements simultaneously, many grating elements must be aligned such that their diffraction arcs overlap at the focal plane. Methods for the alignment of reflection gratings operated in the extreme off-plane mount are being developed at The Pennsylvania State University in support of the Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment. We report on the alignment methodology and performance tests of an aligned reflection grating module.
The Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) is a soft X-ray spectroscopy suborbital rocket payload designed to obtain the highest-resolution soft X-ray spectrum of Capella to date. With a spectral resolution goal of R(λ/▵λ) < 2000 at select wavelengths in its 10-55 Å bandpass of interest, the payload will be able to study the line-dominated spectrum of Capella in unprecedented detail. To achieve this performance goal, the payload will employ three key technologies: mono-crystalline silicon X-ray mirrors developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, reflection gratings manufactured at The Pennsylvania State University, and electron-multiplying CCDs developed by The Open University and XCAM Ltd. In this document, an updated optical design that can achieve the performance goal of the OGRE spectrometer and a new grating alignment concept to realize this optical design are described.
The Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) is a sounding rocket payload designed to obtain a high-resolution soft X-ray spectrum of Capella. OGRE’s optical system uses new technologies including state-of-the-art X-ray optics, custom arrays of reflection gratings, and an array of EM-CCDs. Many of these technologies will be tested for the first time in flight with OGRE. To achieve the high performance that these new technologies are capable of, the payload components must be properly aligned to meet high tolerances. This paper will outline OGRE’s opto-mechanical design for achieving alignment within these tolerances. Specifically, the design of the X-ray grating arrays will be discussed.
The Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) is a soft X-ray spectroscopy suborbital rocket payload scheduled for launch in Q3 2020 from Wallops Flight Facility. The payload will serve as a testbed for several key technologies which can help achieve the desired performance increases for the next generation of X-ray spectrographs and other space-based missions: monocrystalline silicon X-ray mirrors developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, reflection gratings manufactured at The Pennsylvania State University, and electron-multiplying CCDs developed by the Open University and XCAM Ltd. With these three technologies, OGRE hopes to obtain the highest-resolution on-sky soft X-ray spectrum to date. We discuss the optical design of the OGRE payload.
The Off-plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) is a sub-orbital rocket payload that will make the highest spectral resolution astronomical observation of the soft X-ray Universe to date. Capella, OGRE’s science target, has a well-defined line emission spectrum and is frequently used as a calibration source for X-ray observatories such as Chandra. This makes Capella an excellent target to test the technologies on OGRE, many of which have not previously flown. Through the use of state-of-the-art X-ray optics, co-aligned arrays of off-plane reflection gratings, and an X-ray camera based around four Electron Multiplying CCDs, OGRE will act as a proving ground for next generation X-ray spectrometers.
Current theories regarding the matter composition of the universe suggest that half of the expected baryonic matter is missing. One region this could be residing in is intergalactic filaments which absorb strongly in the X-ray regime. Present space based technology is limited when it comes to imaging at these wavelengths and so new techniques are required. The Off-Plane Grating Rocket Experiment (OGRE) aims to produce the highest resolution spectrum of the binary star system Capella, a well-known X-ray source, in the soft X-ray range (0.2keV to 2keV). This will be achieved using a specialised payload combining three low technology readiness level components placed on-board a sub-orbital rocket. These three components consist of an array of large format off-plane X-ray diffraction gratings, a Wolter Type 1 mirror made using single crystal silicon, and the use of EM-CCDs to capture soft X-rays. Each of these components have been previously reviewed with OGRE being the first project to utilise them in a space observation mission. This paper focuses on the EM-CCDs (CCD207-40 by e2v) that will be used and their optimisation with a camera purposely designed for OGRE. Electron Multiplying gain curves were produced for the back-illuminated devices at -80C. Further tests which will need to be carried out are discussed and the impact of the OGRE mission on future projects mentioned.