X-Ray Telescope metrology for NASA

RMD has a long history of building specialized instruments to meet their research needs. Recently, one of our detectors was used to calibrate the X-ray focusing optics for the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission. NuSTAR is a NASA SMEX mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2012.

This X-ray telescope is sensitive to X-rays in the energy range of 6 keV to 80 keV. It consists of 2 Wolter-I grazing angle telescope mirrors which focus the X-rays onto 250-m pixel size CdZnTe detectors. X-ray calibrations of the flight optics were conducted between October 2010 and April 2011 at Columbia University’s Rainwater Memorial Calibration Facility (RaMCaF). The RMD detector was placed on a translation stage in the RaMCaF beamline at the focal point of the X-ray telescope optics. The point spread function of the NuSTAR flight optics was mapped in this manner.

(Left) RMD detector on a translation stage in the RaMCaF beamline. (Right) Point spread function (PSF) of one of the NuSTAR flight optics, as measured by this detector.