Toward active x-ray telescopes

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

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

13 Scopus citations


Future x-ray observatories will require high-resolution (< 1″) optics with very-large-aperture (> 25 m2) areas. Even with the next generation of heavy-lift launch vehicles, launch-mass constraints and aperture-area requirements will limit the areal density of the grazing-incidence mirrors to about 1 kg/m2 or less. Achieving sub-arcsecond x-ray imaging with such lightweight mirrors will require excellent mirror surfaces, precise and stable alignment, and exceptional stiffness or deformation compensation. Attaining and maintaining alignment and figure control will likely involve active (in-space adjustable) x-ray optics. In contrast with infrared and visible astronomy, active optics for x-ray astronomy is in its infancy. In the middle of the past decade, two efforts began to advance technologies for adaptive x-ray telescopes: The Smart X-ray Optics (SXO) Basic Technology project in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Generation-X (Gen-X) concept studies in the United States (US). This paper discusses relevant technological issues and summarizes progress toward active x-ray telescopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy V
StatePublished - Nov 8 2011
EventOptics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 23 2011Aug 25 2011

Publication series

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


OtherOptics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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