Ion beam sputtering has been applied for polishing, figuring and multilayer coating on silicon and quartz glass substrates for the fabrication of x-ray mirrors. For high-performance x-ray optics extremely low microroughnesses of the substrates have to be achieved. Particularly for low d-spacing multilayers (d = 1...2 nm) even small improvements of the surface quality result in significant performance gains of the mirrors. By ion beam polishing silicon substrate surfaces could be smoothed from 0.18 nm rms to 0.11 nm rms (AFM scan length = 5 μm). Furthermore figuring of spherical substrates into elliptical or parabolic surface contours has been developed and applied. Spherical quartz glass substrates with initial rms roughnesses of 0.73 nm and 0.52 nm show reduced roughnesses after figuring and multilayer coating of 0.26 nm and 0.10 nm using AFM scan lengths of 20 μm and 5 μm, respectively. The testing of the ion beam figured mirrors for the application as parallel beam and focussing optics shows very promising results: The comparison of collimating mirrors, produced either by ion beam figuring or bending, shows very similar x-ray intensities. However, the ion beam figured mirrors open the perspective for further reduced figure errors, improved long-term stability and 2-dimensional focusing.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.