Calibration of the ATHENA telescope is a critical aspect of the project and raises significant difficulties due to the unprecedented size, mass and focal length of the mirror assembly. The VERT-X project, financed by ESA and started in January 2019 by a Consortium led by INAF and which includes EIE, Media Lario Technologies, GPAP, and BCV Progetti, aims to design an innovative calibration facility. In the VERT-X design the parallel beam, needed for calibration, is produced placing a source in the focus of an X-ray collimator. This system is mounted on a raster-scan mechanism which covers the entire ATHENA optics. The compactness of the VERT-X design allows a vertical geometry for the ATHENA calibration facility, with several potential benefits with respect to the long horizontal tube calibration facilities.
This paper describes the fabrication and, in particular, the assembly processes of a miniaturized micro-optical system, to be integrated on a hybrid flexible module, which hosts also electronics and microsensors. The whole module was conceived to be mass-produced in order to be distributed in skin-like structures for robotic tactile applications. Nevertheless, it is generally suitable for sensing applications where the flexibility and the thickness of the sensing network are primary requirements. The micro-optical system works as a part of an optoelectronic transducer where electric signals, generated by tactile MEMS sensors, are computed by a microcontroller that drives the micro-optical system. This consequently generates optical radiation, by means of integrated light emitting diodes (LEDs), to be coupled into optical fibers, which waveguide signals to a CMOS optical sensor. Micro-machining and micro-assembly processes of miniaturized components are critical steps in order to fabricate many of these modules according to the application requirements.