Ray-tracing a small orbital mission for soft-X-ray polarimetry

Kavli Affiliate: Herman L. Marshall

| First 5 Authors: Hans Moritz G√ľnther, Herman L. Marshall, Alan Garner, ,

| Summary:

X-ray polarimetry is still largely uncharted territory. With the upcoming
launch of IXPE, we will learn a lot more about X-ray polarization at energies
above 2 keV, but so far no current or accepted mission provides observational
capabilities below 2 keV. We present ray-tracing results for a small orbital
mission that could be launched within NASA’s Pioneer or SmallSat cost-cap to
provide X-ray polarimetry below 2 keV. The design is based on the use of
laterally-graded multi-layer (ML) mirrors, a concept that we have developed
theoretically for the REDSoX Polarimeter, for which most components have been
verified in the laboratory. In this contribution, we describe a single channel
orbital mission based on the same idea, but modified to the unique cost and
space requirements. All results scale up easily to two or more polarimetry
channels. Scaling up would simply increase the effective area and reduce the
need to rotate the instrument to measure the different polarization directions.
In particular, we use the ray-traces to define the maximum size of the
dispersion gratings and to determine an alignment budget.

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