X-ray Optics at the University of Colorado

CASA has had a program in optics for x-ray astronomy that originated in 1980.   Until 1994 this program emphasized the development of diffraction gratings for x-ray spectroscopy of celestial sources. With the launch of Chandra and XMM, and the indentification of Constellation X, x-ray spectroscopy is on solid ground for the foreseeable future.

We are participating in the Constellation X mission for the development of high resolution reflection gratings. Our responsibility is the design and development of alternate concepts as well as some acitivity in the testing, modelling and calibration areas.

We are building an x-ray telescope for launch on a sounding rocket in late 1999. The goal is to demonstrate high resolution, low mass, Kirkpatrick-Baez optics. In the first launch we will study the interstellar dust haloes around x-ray sources. In subsequent launches our goal will be to gather x-ray images with resolution close to 0.1".

Through our SR&T grant, we are building a test-bed X-ray Interferometer for demonstrating that grazing incidence optics can achieve the diffraction limit and can be used to create high frequency interference fringes needed for imaging.