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Proceedings Article

Fresnel lenses for x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy

[+] Author Affiliations
Gerald K. Skinner, Peter von Ballmoos

Ctr. d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements (France)

Neil Gehrels, John Krizmanic

NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (USA)

Proc. SPIE 5168, Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy, 459 (January 29, 2004); doi:10.1117/12.508316
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From Conference Volume 5168

  • Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy
  • Oberto Citterio; Stephen L. O'Dell
  • San Diego, California, USA | August 03, 2003

abstract

Phase Fresnel lenses have the same imaging properties as zone plates, but with the possibility of concentrating all of the incident power into the primary focus, increasing the maximum theoretical efficiency from 11% to close to 100%. For X-rays, and in particular for gamma-rays, large, diffraction-limited phase Fresnel lenses can be made relatively easily. The focal length is very long - for example up to a million kms. However, the correspondingly high 'plate-scale' of the image means that the ultra-high (sub-micro-arc-second) angular resolution possible with a diffraction limited gamma-ray lens a few meters in diameter can be exploited with detectors having mm spatial resolution. The potential of such systems for ultra-high angular resolution astronomy, and for attaining the sensitivity improvements desperately needed for certain other studies, are reviewed and the advantages and disadvantages vis-a-vis alternative approaches are discussed. We report on reduced-scale 'proof-of-principle tests' which are planned and on mission studies of the implementation of a Fresnel telescope on a space mission with lens and detector on two spacecraft separated by one million km. Such a telescope would be capable of resolving emission from super-massive black holes on the scale of their event horizons and would have the sensitivity necessary to detect gamma-ray lines from distant supernovae. We show how diffractive/refractive optics leads to a continuum of possible system designs between filled aperture lenses and wideband interferometric arrays.

© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Citation

Gerald K. Skinner ; Peter von Ballmoos ; Neil Gehrels and John Krizmanic
"Fresnel lenses for x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy", Proc. SPIE 5168, Optics for EUV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Astronomy, 459 (January 29, 2004); doi:10.1117/12.508316; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.508316


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