Performance and time stability of Ir/SiC X-ray mirror coatings for ATHENA

S. Svendsen, S. Massahi, D. D. M. Ferreira, F. E. Christensen, A. Jafari, P. L. Henriksen, M. Collon, B. Landgraf, D. Girou, M. Krumrey, L. Cibik, A. Schubert, E. Handick, B. Shortt

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Excellent X-ray reflective mirror coatings are key in order to meet the performance requirements of the ATHENA telescope. The baseline coating design of ATHENA was initially formed by Ir/B4C but extensive studies have identified critical issues with the stability of the B4C top layer which shows strong evolution over time and appears incompatible with the industrialization processes required for the production of mirror modules. Motivated by the need for a compatible top layer material to improve the telescope performance at low energies and based on simulated performance, a SiC top layer has been selected as the best substitute to B4C. We report the latest development of Ir/SiC bilayer coatings optimized for ATHENA and the characterization of coating performance and stability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE 11119, Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy IX
EditorsStephen L. O'Dell, Giovanni Pareschi
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2019
Pages107 - 116
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event2019 SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications - San Diego, United States
Duration: 11 Aug 201915 Aug 2019


Conference2019 SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
SeriesProceedings of SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering


  • X-ray mirrors
  • Silicon Pore Optics
  • X-ray optics
  • Ir/SiC
  • SiC
  • Coating stability
  • Thin film characterization


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