Development of off-plane gratings for WHIMex and IXO

Physics – Optics

Scientific paper

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Scientific paper

Future X-ray astronomical missions will need to address a number of important goals such as studying the dynamics of clusters of galaxies, determining how elements are created in the explosions of massive stars, and revealing most of the "normal" matter in the universe which is currently thought to be hidden in hot filaments of gas stretching between galaxies. In order to achieve these goals, spectrometers capable of high resolution and high throughput are necessary for the lowest X-ray energies, 0.3-1.0 keV. We present recent progress in the development of off-plane reflection grating technology for use on upcoming missions. Off-plane grating spectrometers consist of an array of gratings capable of reaching resolutions above 3000 (λ/Δλ). Concept designs have been made for the International X-ray Observatory X-ray Grating Spectrometer. More recently however, we have designed an Optics Module Assembly for WHIMex, an Explorer mission concept that incorporates a Wolter telescope, steering flats, and an array of gratings. This paper will discuss these designs and the application of off-plane arrays for the future.

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