Building the Next Generation of X-Ray and UV Gratings for Astronomy
Graduate Student, Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Iowa
Ultraviolet (UV, 900 – 2000 Å) spectra hold particular astrophysical importance. Encoded in these spectra is information about the atmospheric compositions of planets and signposts of habitability, stellar life-cycles, and energetic processes of the early universe. Due to the need to separate UV light into specific wavelength regions, the next generation of UV spectrographs will require excellent sensitivity while maintaining high spectral resolution (R > 30,000). Many astrophysical UV detector technologies have realized significant performance improvements, but techniques for manufacturing high-resolution, highly efficient blazed gratings for UV astronomy remain underdeveloped. Advancements made in X-ray grating fabrication have demonstrated electron beam lithography (EBL) in combination with potassium hydroxide (KOH) wet-etching is a promising technique for fabricating custom patterned, high-resolution diffraction gratings. We investigate these techniques, along with nanoimprint lithography, to assess their feasibility, replicability, and cost-effectiveness.
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