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Center Innovation Fund: GSFC CIF

Scotch-Tape Mirror for Hard X-rays

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Scotch-Tape Mirror for Hard X-rays project is to test the possibility of building a grazing incidence mirror for hard X-rays (E>20 keV) using a "scotch-tape" design, in which a thin plastic tape with a specific thickness profile and a multilayer reflective coating is tightly wound into a roll. The goal is to find a low-cost way of building a telescope for hard X-rays with a very large effective area.

The project is to build a grazing incidence mirror for hard X-rays (E>20 keV) using a "scotch-tape" design, in which a thin plastic tape with a specific thickness profile and a multilayer reflective coating is tightly wound into a roll. Key challenges are (a) to find a suitably smooth tape subatrate (this has been done), (b) to wind a large number of tape shells onto the smooth metal centerpiece without introducing and accummulating shape irregularities, and (c) to give the tape the variable thickness profile in order to achieve the desired optical figure. Our immediate goal is to demonstrate the idea feasibility by building a crude conical X-ray concentrator. If successful, we will aim at building and flying a mirror prototype on a balloon and then proposing for an Explorer mission or MOO. The ultimate goal is a telescope with 1 m^2 effective area at E=30 keV.

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