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Smart X-ray optics for large and small scale applications

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posted on 23.04.2010, 12:41 by Charlotte Hannah Feldman
The Smart X-ray Optics project is a UK based consortium of eight institutions investigating active/adaptive X-ray optics for both large and small scale applications. The consortium is funded by a basic technology grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The large scale application is aimed towards future high angular resolution, large X-ray telescopes for X-ray astronomy. The first prototype mirror incorporates piezoelectric devices to a standard X-ray shell to enable the surface to be actively deformed. The aim is to achieve an angular resolution better than that currently available (e.g. Chandra 0.5”). The initial design is based on a thin nickel ellipsoid segment on the back of which a series of thirty, curved piezoelectric actuators have been bonded. The small scale application is aimed at providing an X-ray focusing device, capable of producing a focused spot of ∼10μm, the same size as an average biological cell for cancer research and studies. Current small scale devices, zone plates, are limited by their focal length and aperture, and cannot be used at energies greater than 1keV . In order to increase the workable X-ray energies, whilst still providing small spot sizes over short distances, a new optic was designed. Micro Optical Arrays are based on polycapillary or Micro Channel Plate optics (MCPs) and consist of a series of parallel channels, etched into silicon wafers. By the attachment of piezoelectric devices, a device with a variable focal length can be created. The work presented within this thesis describes the design, metrology, modelling and X-ray testing of the first large adaptive X-ray optic and the theory, modelling and X-ray testing of the small scale optic. Summaries, conclusions and future work are also outlined.


ESPRC;SXO consortium;University of Leicester



Willingale, R.

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University of Leicester

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