ESA-led ATHENA/IXO optics development status

Marcos Bavdaz, Nicola Rando, Eric Wille, Kotska Wallace, Brian Shortt, Maximilien Collon, Coen van Baren, Giovanni Pareschi, Finn Erland Christensen, Michael Krumrey, Michael Freyberg

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The International X-ray Observatory (IXO) is a candidate mission in the ESA Space Science Programme Cosmic Vision 1525, and was studied as a joint mission with NASA and JAXA. Considering the programmatic evolution of the international context, the mission is being reformulated as an ESA-led mission, under the name of ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics), with possible participation of NASA and JAXA. The mission is building on the novel Silicon Pore Optics (SPO) technology to achieve the required performance for this demanding astrophysics observatory. This technology is being developed by an industrial consortium, and involves also several research institutes [1-12]. A second optics technology, slumped glass optics (SGO), which is being developed in Europe and the USA, was the backup technology for IXO, and additionally work is progressing on improved reflective coatings and X-ray test facilities [13-17].
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)81470C
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Pore optics
  • X-ray optics
  • X-ray testing
  • X-ray astronomy
  • IXO
  • X-ray telescopes


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