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SBIR/STTR

Precollimator Manufacturing for X-ray Telescopes, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Space-based x-ray telescopes currently involve the use of a precollimator (PC) to shield the optics from stray light. Each PC consists of cylindrical aluminum ribs (blades) with varying radii, alignment frames to guide the blade positions and the blade housing body. The alignment frame and the housing are made of Aluminum 6061 and 7075 alloy, respectively. A heat-forming process with thin aluminum sheets is used to produce the ribs that run between the alignment frame. We are proposing a new method to build a PC out with emerging technologies, using Additive Manufacturing (AM) to build a blank that is the rough shape of the PC but with thickened ribs and then using wire Electric Discharge Machining (EDM) to cut the final shape. This will result in an easier to produce PC, with more rigidity due to its integral structure and potentially thinner and better positioned blades. It will also be made of Titanium instead of Aluminum and have a less shiny surface finish, both of which are more favorable characteristics in stray light blocking. We plan to design a Test Article that mimics the size and location configuration of the current PC technology. We plan to investigate the competing AM processes of Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) and Electron Beam Welding (EBM) to determine which one is a better process for the blank fabrication and if there are any potential limitations to either technology. Then we will use a cutting-edge technology wire EDM machine to cut the final shape in the blank and determine what limitations exist in positioning accuracy and thickness of the blades. We anticipate both to be better than the current PC technology. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Light bulb

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