Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Don A. Gregory

Committee Member

Wayne Baumgartner

Committee Member

Jessica Gaskin

Committee Member

Massimiliano Bonamente


X-ray telescopes--Calibration., X-rays--Sources., X-rays--Polarization.


The Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is an X-ray telescope mission currently being built at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). IXPE will measure polarized X-rays in the 2-8 keV range and will reveal new information about astrophysical sources that produce polarized X-rays such as pulsars, AGN, magnetars, and supernovae remnants. Telescope calibration at MSFC's Stray Light Test Facility (SLTF) 100-m beamline requires a bright, highly polarized X-ray source. The design of the IXPE polarized sources for end-to-end telescope calibration allows for testing at three energies (Rh L_alpha at 2.7 keV, Ti K_alpha at 4.5 keV, and Fe K_alpha at 6.4 keV) and uses Bragg crystal reflection to produce polarized X-rays at these given energies. Beam shape, size, and flux results from laboratory testing polarized source configurations, simulations, and final testing at SLTF are consistent. Flux from these polarized X-ray sources is adequate for calibration. Different types of crystals produce different levels of flux and different beam shapes based on their inherent crystal structure. Measurements of the modulation factors for these polarized sources are ongoing.



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