DEVELOPMENT OF GRATING TECHNOLOGY FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION SPECTROMETERS USING NANOFABRICATION TECHNIQUES

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

SEVERAL OF ASTRONOMY'S KEY FUTURE SCIENCE OBJECTIVES AS IDENTIFIED BY NASA CAN BE ACHIEVED WITH SOFT X-RAY SPECTROSCOPY. THIS STUDY SEEKS TO DEVELOP A NEW TECHNIQUE FOR FABRICATING X-RAY REFLECTION GRATINGS TO BE INTEGRATED IN FUTURE X-RAY SPECTROMETER DESIGNS. THE FABRICATION METHOD DEVELOPED IN THIS STUDY WILL CREATE A REFLECTION GRATING WITH A TRUE RADIAL PROFILE WHICH IS A REQUIREMENT IN ORDER TO ELIMINATE GRATING-INDUCED ABERRATIONS TO THE TELESCOPE FOCUS AND ACHIEVE THE REQUIRED RESOLVING POWER OF FUTURE MISSIONS. IF SUCCESSFUL THE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED IN THIS STUDY WILL LEAD TO THE REALIZATION OF THEORETICAL X-RAY SPECTROMETER PERFORMANCE ON TIMESCALES CONSISTENT WITH THE NEXT DECADAL SURVEY. THIS STUDY WILL BUILD ON OUR RESEARCH GROUP'S STRONG HERITAGE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF X-RAY REFLECTION GRATINGS AND INTRODUCE A NEW FABRICATION TECHNIQUE THAT RETAINS CURRENT STATE-OF-THE-ART GRATING EFFICIENCY WHILE ALSO ACHIEVING ORDER-OF-MAGNITUDE IMPROVEMENTS IN RESOLVING POWER. THE NEW FABRICATION TECHNIQUE IS CENTERED AROUND PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS AND WILL BE APPROACHED AS FOLLOWS: FIRST I WILL MODEL GRATING APPLICATIONS OF PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS AND CONDUCT TRADE-STUDY TO DETERMINE MOST SUITABLE PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS TO BE USED IN GRATING FABRICATION. I WILL THEN OBTAIN MATERIALS AND BEGIN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLANNED FABRICATION PROCEDURES: CREATE A 'MASTER' GRATING WITH PARALLEL GROOVES CURRENT ELECTRON-BEAM LITHOGRAPHY (EBL) EMPLOYED IN OUR GRATING FABRICATION EFFORTS IN ORDER TO RETAIN THE PRECISE GROOVE FACETS ACHIEVABLE WITH EBL; THE EBL 'MASTER' WILL THEN BE IMPRINTED INTO A SOFT RESIST THAT IS COATED UPON A WAFER OF PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIAL BENEATH WHICH ARE ELECTRODES TO CONTROL THE CURRENT THROUGH THE MATERIAL; WITH THE PARALLEL-GROOVE PROFILE IMPRINTED INTO THE RESIST A VARIABLE CURRENT WILL BE APPLIED ACROSS THE PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIAL TO FORCE THE RESIST TO CONFORM TO A PRESELECTED PATTERN WHICH WILL TRANSFORM THE PARALLEL GROOVES INTO A RADIAL PROFILE WITHOUT SACRIFICING THE PRECISE FACETS INTRODUCED IN THE ORIGINAL EBL WRITE; THE PATTERN WILL THEN BE UV-CURED IN ORDER TO SOLIDIFY THE RESIST AND LOCK THE RADIAL PROFILE INTO PLACE; FINALLY THIS NEW PIEZOELECTRIC MASTER WILL BE USED TO IMPRINT DOZENS OF REPLICAS. THE ENTIRE PROCESS WILL CERTAINLY REQUIRE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF DEVELOPMENT AND TRIAL-AND-ERROR WHICH INCLUDES TESTING INTERMEDIATE PROTOTYPES AT NASA CENTERS FOR BOTH EFFICIENCY AND RESOLUTION. HOWEVER IF IMPLEMENTED SUCCESSFULLY THIS TECHNOLOGY WILL MAKE POSSIBLE BOTH THE ORDER-OF-MAGNITUDE GAINS IN EFFECTIVE AREA AND RESOLVING POWER OVER CURRENT OBSERVATORIES THAT IS REQUIRED FOR FUTURE X-RAY MISSIONS.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date8/1/177/31/21

Funding

  • NASA Headquarters: $235,888.00

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