Optical EngineeringAlignment error of mirror modules of advanced telescope for high-energy astrophysics due to wavefront aberrations
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One of the approaches that is being tested for the integration of the mirror modules of the advanced telescope for high-energy astrophysics x-ray mission of the European Space Agency consists in aligning each module on an optical bench operated at an ultraviolet wavelength. The mirror module is illuminated by a plane wave and, in order to overcome diffraction effects, the centroid of the image produced by the module is used as a reference to assess the accuracy of the optical alignment of the mirror module itself. Among other sources of uncertainty, the wave-front error of the plane wave also introduces an error in the position of the centroid, thus affecting the quality of the mirror module alignment. The power spectral density of the position of the point spread function centroid is here derived from the power spectral density of the wave-front error of the plane wave in the framework of the scalar theory of Fourier diffraction. This allows the defining of a specification on the collimator quality used for generating the plane wave starting from the contribution to the error budget allocated for the uncertainty of the centroid position. The theory generally applies whenever Fourier diffraction is a valid approximation, in which case the obtained result is identical to that derived by geometrical optics considerations.