University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, October 16th 2015
2:30 pm:
Speaker: Randall McEntaffer, U Iowa
Subject: Nanofabrication for Astronomy: Small Features for Small Wavelengths

In the coming decades, the field of X-ray astronomy desires to accomplish several key science goals. Current X-ray observatories are incapable of addressing many of these including detailing the distribution of hot matter in the Universe. A large fraction of baryonic matter is theorized to exist in between galaxies. Detection of this matter and characterizing feedback mechanisms from galaxies are substantial advancements of our understanding that can be realized through soft X-ray spectroscopy. Future X-ray missions require diffraction gratings with high throughput and high spectral resolving power to achieve these goals. Recent advances in grating fabrication methods have enabled reflection gratings to obtain the necessary performance requirements. I will discuss these novel fabrication methods and detail our progress in fabricating custom grating groove profiles. These gratings have demonstrated very high X-ray diffraction efficiency and spectral resolving power during X-ray testing. I will detail these results and describe current and future space based applications of spectrometers based on such gratings.

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