Future X-ray grating missions

Chandra/HETG is a wonderful instrument that has revolutionized our understanding of the X-ray cosmos. However, technology marches on and new developments of mirror and diffraction grating technology make instruments possible that collect more light than the Chandra/HETG does and at the same time give a better spectral resolution, which would allow us to measure properties of sources ranging from young stars to massive black holes with greater accuracy to reveal how they work. Different groups at MKI are involved in developing new instrumentation and the Canizares/HETG group works closely with the groups developing mirrors, gratings, and detectors to drive the design of future instruments.

New X-ray instruments and missions are so complex and expensive these days that typically groups from different institutions are involved. The Canizares/HETG group has been part of a number of efforts over the years with mission concepts called, e.g. AEGIS, GREX, Arcus, or Lynx. We often contribute our experience from designing the HETG and the expertise we gain from operating the world’s best X-ray grating spectrometer (the HETG). We help to pick out the most interesting scientific questions that a grating spectrometer can answer, we design and ray-trace the optical path, work out calibration plans, and contribute to software development.Arcus logo

As usual for NASA missions as large as an X-ray grating spectrometer, concepts and technology evolves, while different groups work to optimize their proposals to NASA. We have been part of several efforts over the last two decades and continue to be involved. One particular mission proposal that our group contributed significantly recently is Arcus, a mission concept for an advanced grating spectrometer with a resolving power a few times better than Chandra/HETG and a collecting area orders of magnitude better than Chandra/HETG has today.

Since we are involved in several concepts the list of “team members” on this page is representative and changes with time and project.

Team Members