29 July 2010
Silicon pore optics is a technology developed to enable future large area X-ray telescopes, such as the International X-ray Observatory (IXO), a candidate mission in the ESA Space Science Programme ‘Cosmic Visions 2015-2025’. IXO uses nested mirrors in Wolter-I configuration to focus grazing incidence X-ray photons on a detector plane.
The IXO mirrors will have to meet stringent performance requirements including an effective area of ~3 m2 at 1.25 keV and ~1 m2 at 6 keV and angular resolution better than 5 arc seconds. To achieve the collecting area requires a total polished mirror surface area of ~1300 m2 with a surface roughness better than 0.5 nm rms. By using commercial high-quality 12″ silicon wafers which are diced, structured, wedged, coated, bent and stacked the stringent performance requirements of IXO can be attained without any costly polishing steps. Two of these stacks are then assembled into a co-aligned mirror module, which is a complete X-ray imaging system.
Included in the mirror module are the isostatic mounting points, providing a reliable interface to the telescope. Hundreds of such mirror modules are finally integrated into petals, and mounted onto the spacecraft to form an X-ray optic of four meters in diameter. In this paper we will present the silicon pore optics assembly process and latest X-ray results.
The required metrology is described in detail and experimental methods are shown, which allow to assess the quality of the HPO's during production and to predict the performance when measured in synchrotron radiation facilities.