Table of Contents
X-Ray Optics and Instrumentation
Volume 2010, Article ID 412323, 16 pages
Review Article

Thin Shell, Segmented X-Ray Mirrors

X-ray Astrophysics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Received 14 May 2010; Accepted 29 November 2010

Academic Editor: Stephen L. O'Dell

Copyright © 2010 R. Petre. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thin foil mirrors were introduced as a means of achieving high throughput in an X-ray astronomical imaging system in applications for which high angular resolution was not necessary. Since their introduction, their high filling factor, modest mass, relative ease of construction, and modest cost have led to their use in numerous X-ray observatories, including the Broad Band X-ray Telescope, ASCA, and Suzaku. The introduction of key innovations, including epoxy replicated surfaces, multilayer coatings, and glass mirror substrates, has led to performance improvements and in their becoming widely used for X-ray astronomical imaging at energies above 10 keV. The use of glass substrates has also led to substantial improvement in angular resolution and thus their incorporation into the NASA concept for the International X-ray Observatory with a planned 3 m diameter aperture. This paper traces the development of foil mirrors from their inception in the 1970s through their current and anticipated future applications.