Toward active x-ray telescopes II

Stephen L. O'Dell*, Thomas L. Aldcroft, Carolyn Atkins, Timothy W. Button, Vincenzo Cotroneo, William N. Davis, Peter Doel, Charlotte H. Feldman, Mark D. Freeman, Mikhail V. Gubarev, Raegan L. Johnson-Wilke, Jeffery J. Kolodziejczak, Charles F. Lillie, Alan G. Michette, Brian D. Ramsey, Paul B. Reid, Daniel Rodriguez Sanmartin, Timo T. Saha, Daniel A. Schwartz, Susan E. Trolier-McKinstryMelville P. Ulmer, Rudeger H.T. Wilke, Richard Willingale, William W. Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Scopus citations


In the half century since the initial discovery of an astronomical (non-solar) x-ray source, the observation time required to achieve a given sensitivity has decreased by eight orders of magnitude. Largely responsible for this dramatic progress has been the refinement of the (grazing-incidence) focusing x-ray telescope, culminating with the exquisite subarcsecond imaging performance of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The future of x-ray astronomy relies upon the development of x-ray telescopes with larger aperture areas (> 1 m2) and comparable or finer angular resolution (< 1″). Combined with the special requirements of grazing-incidence optics, the mass and envelope constraints of space-borne telescopes render such advances technologically challenging-requiring precision fabrication, alignment, and assembly of large areas (> 200 m2) of lightweight (≈ 1 kg m-2 areal density) mirrors. Achieving precise and stable alignment and figure control may entail active (in-space adjustable) x-ray optics. This paper discusses relevant programmatic and technological issues and summarizes current progress toward active x-ray telescopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive X-Ray Optics II
StatePublished - 2012
EventAdaptive X-Ray Optics II - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 14 2012Aug 14 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherAdaptive X-Ray Optics II
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Active optics
  • Adjustable optics
  • Bimorph actuators
  • Electrostrictive devices
  • Magnetostrictive devices
  • Piezoelectric devices
  • X-ray optics
  • X-ray telescopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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