A University of Iowa assistant professor has received a grant from NASA to develop mirror technologies for X-ray astronomy.
Casey DeRoo will study a technology that would put tiny adjusters on the back of the mirrors used in X-ray telescopes. Because the mirrors are so thin—less than a millimeter—they can easily be bent or deformed in manufacture, by the method used to hold them, or by the rocket ride into space. The adjusters would correct these issues.
The mirror surfaces will be made at the University of Iowa, then sent to Washington University in St. Louis to have the tiny adjusters put on. The mirrors will then be returned to Iowa, where the adjusters will be operated and tested to see how they change the mirror’s surface.
“To me, this award is really about leveraging our expertise in making and measuring telescope mirrors, and in the end, we’ll help to make some pretty sophisticated devices,” says DeRoo, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “I’m pretty stoked about the whole process of starting with a tiny glass sheet at Iowa, and later testing that glass as a cutting-edge X-ray mirror in the same place.”
The award from NASA’s Astrophysics Research and Analysis program exceeds $271,000 over three years.