Based on the classic Wolter-Type I design (using a paraboloid/hyperboloid grazing mirror pair), mirror parameters were expanded to allow both shell length and focal-plane offsets to vary independently. The design was optimized with a merit function that factored together four sub-merits: PSF sharpness (measured as half-power diameter), consistency across the field, minimized scattering, and maximized effective area. Monte Carlo analysis was used to predict final performance, including surface scatter effects.
The demonstrated configurations include a compact 34 shell design with a diameter of 105 mm more efficient at higher energies, and a larger 130 mm/24 shell version with a larger overall effective area at lower energies. The compact design carries more expensive fabrication and assembly cost (with more shells) as well as a more challenging alignment (with denser packing). Both have overall resolution <1’ up to 26’ off-axis and <1.5’ up to 33’ off-axis, whereas a conventional design’s image quality degrades quickly beyond 15’ off-axis. This opens up new possibilities for future SmallSat missions that could use two different configurations for wide energy ranges or midsized instruments using multiple identical modules for larger collecting area.
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