Simulating the optical performances of the ATHENA X-ray telescope optics

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The ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics) X-ray observatory is an ESA-selected L2 class mission. In the proposed configuration, the optical assembly has a diameter of 2.2 m with an effective area of 1.4 m2 at 1 keV, 0.25 m2 at 6 keV, and requires an angular resolution of 5 arcsec. To meet the requirements of effective area and angular resolution, the technology of Silicon Pore Optics (SPO) was selected for the optics implementation. The ATHENA's optic assembly requires hundreds of SPOs mirror modules (MMs), obtained by stacking wedged and ribbed silicon wafer plates onto silicon mandrels to form the Wolter-I configuration. Different factors can contribute to limit the imaging performances of SPOs, such as i) diffraction through the pore apertures, ii) plate deformations due to fabrication errors and surface roughness, iii) alignment errors among plates in an MM, and iv) co-focality errors within the MMs assembly. In order to determine the fabrication and assembling tolerances, the impact of these contributions needs to be assessed prior to manufacturing. A set of simulation tools responding to this need was developed in the framework of the ESA-financed projects SIMPOSIuM and ASPHEA. In this paper, we present the performance simulation obtained for the recently proposed ATHENA configuration in terms of effective area, and we provide a simulation of the diffractive effects in a pair of SPO MMs. Finally, we present an updated sizing of magnetic diverter (a Halbach array) and the magnetic fields levels that can be reached in order to deviate the most energetic protons out of the detector field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
EditorsJan-Willem A. den Herder, Shouleh Nikzad, Kazuhiro Nakazawa
Number of pages11
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2018
Article number106993N
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventSPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray - Austin, United States
Duration: 10 Jun 201815 Jun 2018


ConferenceSPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
CountryUnited States
Sponsor4D Technology Corporation, Andor Technology, Ltd., Astronomical Consultants and Equipment, Inc., Giant Magellan Telescope, SPIE
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • ATHENA, Silicon Pore Optics, Optical design, Simulation, Alignment, Diffraction

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