Abstract

We developed a method for making quantitative characterizations of bi-grid rotating modulation collimators (RMC’s) that are used in a Fourier transform x-ray imager. With appropriate choices of the collimator spacings, this technique can be implemented with a beam-expanded He–Ne laser to simulate the plane wave produced by a point source at infinity even though the RMC’s are diffraction limited at the He–Ne wavelength of 632.8 nm. The expanded beam passes through the grid pairs at a small angle with respect to their axis of rotation, and the modulated transmission through the grids as the RMC’s rotate is detected with a photomultiplier tube. In addition to providing a quantitative characterization of the RMC’s, the method also produces a measured point response function and provides an end-to-end check of the imaging system. We applied our method to the RMC’s on the high-energy imaging device (HEIDI) balloon payload in its preflight configuration. We computed the harmonic ratios of the modulation time profile from the laser measurements and compared them with theoretical calculations, including the diffraction effects on irregular grids. Our results indicate the 25-in. (64-cm) x-ray imaging optics on HEIDI are capable of achieving images near the theoretical limit and are not seriously compromised by imperfections in the grids.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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