The LAMP (Lightweight Asymmetry and Magnetism Probe) X-ray telescope is a mission concept to measure the polarization of X-ray astronomical sources at 250 eV via imaging mirrors that reflect at incidence angles near the polarization angle, i.e., 45 deg. Hence, it will require the adoption of multilayer coatings with a few nanometers dspacing in order to enhance the reflectivity. The nickel electroforming technology has already been successfully used to fabricate the high angular resolution imaging mirrors of the X-ray telescopes SAX, XMM-Newton, and Swift/XRT. We are investigating this consolidated technology as a possible technique to manufacture focusing mirrors for LAMP. Although the very good reflectivity performances of this kind of mirrors were already demonstrated in grazing incidence, the reflectivity and the scattering properties have not been tested directly at the unusually large angle of 45 deg. Other possible substrates are represented by thin glass foils or silicon wafers. In this paper we present the results of the X-ray reflectivity campaign performed at the BEAR beamline of Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste on multilayer coatings of various composition (Cr/C, Co/C), deposited with different sputtering parameters on nickel, silicon, and glass substrates, using polarized X-rays in the spectral range 240 - 290 eV.
X-ray reflection near the Brewster’s angle by multilayer mirrors can be used to detect the polarization from X-ray sources. The photon emission spectra from some isolated neutron stars and AGN/blazars etc. show that their emission is peaked at low energies near 250eV, which is just below carbon K-absorption edge. The Lightweight Asymmetry and Magnetism Probe (LAMP) is proposed as a micro-satellite mission dedicated for astronomical X-ray polarimetry working at 250 eV and is currently under early phase study. Co/C multilayers are selected and designed at the energy near 250eV with a grazing incident angle of 45°. The carbon layer thickness ratio is optimized to get the highest integral reflectivity which means larger effective signals in the astrophysics observation. The multilayer coatings were manufactured by direct current magnetron sputtering on D263 glasses and electroformed nickels and characterized using Grazing incidence X-ray reflectometry at 8keV. Reactive sputtering with 4%, 6% and 8% nitrogen were used to improve the Co/C multilayer interfaces respectively. Reflectivity for s-polarization and p-polarization light was measured at BEAR beamline in Elettra synchtron facility. Co/C multilayer deposited with 6% nitrogen exhibits the best performance comparing to other multilayers with different nitrogen content.
The Lightweight Asymmetry and Magnetism Probe (LAMP) is a micro-satellite mission concept dedicated for astronomical X-ray polarimetry and is currently under early phase study. It consists of segmented paraboloidal multilayer mirrors with a collecting area of about 1300 cm2 to reflect and focus 250 eV X-rays, which will be detected by position sensitive detectors at the focal plane. The primary targets of LAMP include the thermal emission from the surface of pulsars and synchrotron emission produced by relativistic jets in blazars. With the expected sensitivity, it will allow us to detect polarization or place a tight upper limit for about 10 pulsars and 20 blazars. In addition to measuring magnetic structures in these objects, LAMP will also enable us to discover bare quark stars if they exist, whose thermal emission is expected to be zero polarized, while the thermal emission from neutron stars is believed to be highly polarized due to plasma polarization and the quantum electrodynamics (QED) effect. Here we present an overview of the mission concept, its science objectives and simulated observational results.