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Proceedings Paper

Large coded aperture mask for spaceflight hard x-ray images
Author(s): Danielle Vigneau; David W. Robinson
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Paper Abstract

The 2.6 square meter coded aperture mask is a vital part of the Burst Alert Telescope on the Swift mission. A random, but known pattern of more than 50,000 lead tiles, each 5 mm square, was bonded to a large honeycomb panel which projects a shadow on the detector array during a gamma ray burst. A two-year development process was necessary to explore ideas, apply techniques, and finalize procedures to meet the strict requirements for the coded aperture mask. Challenges included finding a honeycomb substrate with minimal gamma ray attenuation, selecting an adhesive with adequate bond strength to hold the tiles in place but flexible enough to allow the tiles to expand and contract without distorting the panel under large temperature gradients, and eliminating excess adhesive from all untiled areas. Finding an efficient way to bond the > 50,000 lead tiles to the panel while maintaining positional tolerances within +0.1 mm was no small task. In order to generate the desired bondline, adhesive was applied and allowed to cure to each tile. The 'pre-cured' tiles were located in a tool to maintain positional accuracy, wet adhesive was applied to the panel, and the wetted substrate was lowered to the tile surface with synchronized actuators. Using this procedure, the entire tile pattern was transferred to the large honeycomb panel in a single bond. The pressure for the bond was achieved by enclosing the entire system in a vacuum bag. Thermal vacuum and acoustic tests validated this approach. This paper discusses the methods, materials, and techniques used to fabricate this very large and unique coded aperture mask for the Swift mission.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 March 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4851, X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Telescopes and Instruments for Astronomy, (11 March 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.461162
Show Author Affiliations
Danielle Vigneau, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
David W. Robinson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4851:
X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Telescopes and Instruments for Astronomy
Joachim E. Truemper; Harvey D. Tananbaum, Editor(s)

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