Thermal forming of glass microsheets for x-ray telescope mirror segments

M.A. Jimenez-Garate, C.J. Hailey, W.W. Craig, Finn Erland Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We describe a technology to mass-produce ultrathin mirror substrates for x-ray telescopes of near Wolter-I geometry. Thermal glass forming is a low-cost method to produce high-throughput, spaceborne x-ray mirrors for the 0.1-200-keV energy band. These substrates can provide the collecting area envisioned for future x-ray observatories. The glass microsheets are shaped into mirror segments at high temperature by use of a guiding mandrel, without polishing. We determine the physical properties and mechanisms that elucidate the formation process and that are crucial to improve surface quality. We develop a viscodynamic model for the glass strain as the forming proceeds to find the conditions for repeatability. Thermal forming preserves the x-ray reflectance and scattering properties of the raw glass. The imaging resolution is driven by a large wavelength figure. We discuss the sources of figure errors, and we calculate the relaxation time of surface ripples.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)724-735
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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