Thin film coatings are used on X-Ray mirrors to provide high reflectivity surfaces, to increase the detector blaze angle, and even to increase the detection energy bandwidth of X-Rays through the use of bilayer stacks of high Z and low Z materials. With the age of the current NASA X-Ray detector work horses, Swift and Chandra, there are numerous missions in various stages of development so that wide field of view detection will not be lost. Each of these missions use slightly different mirror configurations to accomplish the tasks. Unfortunately, the mirror or focusing optics structures have become more complex as new capabilities are required by the scientific community. These complex mirror geometries and channel plate optics have posed a challenge for traditional coating technologies. Summit Information Solutions, Inc. proposes the use of a mature coating technique that offers conformal coatings with tight film thickness control and no need for line of sight during deposition. Although there has been some exploring of use of this technique in a University setting for this challenge, Summit will be able to leverage our experience using the deposition technique to successfully coat challenging materials on large three dimensionally complex objects for both the government and the private sector. Summit proposes two traditional X-Ray coatings to show feasibility, a W/Si bilayer and a Ni coating.
The immediate NASA applications for this topic include the Gamow explorer, Lynx, and STORM. In addition, the technology developed here would see use on ESA’s ATHENA. Moving forward NASA would have access to a foundational manufacturing capability that would be able to coat high reflectivity coatings on arbitrarily complex X-Ray optics.
As stated under NASA applications, this technology would also benefit NASA’s partners, such as ESA, in development of X-Ray detector systems. The silicon pore optics and micro channel plate coating methods developed would also see use by the DoD on subwavelength, nonlinear optics sensor development.