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Astrophysics Research and Analysis Program

Continued Development of a Soft Gamma-Ray Concentrator

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Continued Development of a Soft Gamma-Ray Concentrator
We propose to continue our development of a concept for a soft gamma-ray (E > 100 keV) concentrator using thin-film multilayer structures. Alternating layers of low- and high-density materials will channel soft gamma-ray photons via total external reflection. A suitable arrangement of bent structures will then concentrate the incident radiation to a point. Gamma-ray optics made in this way offer the potential for soft gamma-ray telescopes with focal lengths of less than 10 m, removing the need for formation flying spacecraft and opening the field up to balloon-borne instruments. Under previous APRA funding we have been investigating methods for efficiently producing such multilayer structures and modeling their performance. We now propose to pursue magnetron sputtering (MS) techniques to quickly produce structures with the required smoothness and thickness, to measure their channeling efficiency and compare with calculations, and to design a “lens” with optimized bandpass and throughput and predict its scientific performance. If successful, this work will confirm that this innovative optics concept is suitable for a balloon-born soft gamma-ray telescope with unprecedented sensitivity. More »

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