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Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems

Shrink tape technique for heat-forming aluminum substrates for thin foil x-ray mirrors and the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer x-ray concentrators
Author(s): Erin R. Balsamo; Keith C. Gendreau; Takashi Okajima; Yang Soong; Peter J. Serlemitsos; Lalit Jalota; Steven J. Kenyon; Nicholas S. Spartana; David R. Fickau; Richard G. Koenecke
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Paper Abstract

Consistent improvements in the design and fabrication of thin-foil, epoxy-replicated x-ray mirrors for astronomical telescopes have yielded increasingly higher quality and more precise astrophysical data. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) x-ray timing mission optics continues this tradition and introduces design elements that promise even more accurate measurements and precise astrophysical parameters. The singly reflecting concentrators have a curved axial profile to improve photon concentration and a sturdy full shell structure for enhanced module stability. These design elements introduced the challenge of reliably forming mirror substrates at an acceptable production rate. By developing a technique using heat shrink tape to compress and conform thin aluminum mirror substrates to shaping mandrels, production rate improved with successful fabrication. The technique’s efficiency was analyzed by measuring hundreds of substrate profiles postforming, performance testing completely assembled concentrators composed of every size substrate, and comparing the results to simulated fabrication scenarios. On average, the profiles were copied within 4.6±3.7%. These measurements and the overall success of NICER’s optics, via ground calibration, have shown that the heat-shrink tape method is reliable, repeatable, and could be used in future missions to increase production rate and improve performance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 January 2016
PDF: 9 pages
J. Ast. Inst. Sys. 2(1) 015001 doi: 10.1117/1.JATIS.2.1.015001
Published in: Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems Volume 2, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Erin R. Balsamo, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County (United States)
Keith C. Gendreau, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Takashi Okajima, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Yang Soong, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Peter J. Serlemitsos, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Lalit Jalota, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County (United States)
Steven J. Kenyon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Nicholas S. Spartana, SGT, Inc. (United States)
David R. Fickau, SGT, Inc. (United States)
Richard G. Koenecke, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


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