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Advances in the active alignment system for the IXO optics

Advances in the active alignment system for the IXO optics

Publication date: 31 July 2010

Authors: Freeman, M., et al.

Journal: Proc. SPIE
Volume: 7732
Year: 2010

Copyright: SPIE

The next large x-ray astrophysics mission launched will likely include soft x-ray spectroscopy as a primary capability. A requirement to fulfill the science goals of such a mission is a large-area x-ray telescope focusing sufficient x-ray flux to perform high-resolution spectroscopy with reasonable observing times. The IXO soft x-ray telescope effort in the US is focused on a tightly nested, thin glass, segmented mirror design. Fabrication of the glass segments with the required surface accuracy is a fundamental challenge; equally challenging will be the alignment of the ~7000 secondary mirror segments with their corresponding primary mirrors, and co-alignment of the mirror pairs. We have developed a system to perform this alignment using a combination of a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) and a double-pass Hartmann test alignment system. We discuss the technique, its ability to correct low-order mirror errors, and results of a recent pair alignment including progress toward the required alignment accuracy of < 2 arcseconds, and discuss the influence of the alignment process on mirror figure. We then look forward toward its scalability to the task of building the IXO telescope.

This paper was presented at the SPIE conference on Astronomical Instrumentation 2010 conference.

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