Monte Carlo simulations of hyper-velocity particulate mechanics within silicon micropore optics

Buggey, T.W.; Soman, Matthew R.; Keelan, Jonathan; Hall, D.J. and Holland, A.D. (2020). Monte Carlo simulations of hyper-velocity particulate mechanics within silicon micropore optics. In: X-Ray, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy IX, p. 102.




The focal planes of X-ray astronomy missions are at risk of particulate impacts from both micrometeoroids and orbital debris due to the open aperture of the narrow-angle incidence optics. Silicon micro-pore optics (sMPOs) have seen significant development due to their wide-angle observing capabilities and are planned for use in future X-ray space missions such as SMILE and THESEUS. Although previous space missions have seen sporadic and disruptive events in detectors which are attributed to particulate impacts, the number of particulates that can traverse the new sMPO and affect detector performance is not currently known, preventing the quantification of damage on focal planes.
Work carried out on nested shell X-ray optics suggested that hyper-velocity particulates could scatter from the polished inner-mirrors and be focused on the focal plane of an instrument. By assuming that this basic scattering mechanic is present in sMPO, along with the natural clear path from space to the focal plane, the overall transmission rate of particulates through such an optic can be calculated using the Monte Carlo simulation methodology.
By using the simulation presented here, along with known micrometeoroid flux models and so-called damage equations, the risk to focal planes of large-scale space missions due to hyper-velocity particulate impacts can for the first time be quantified. As such, the work presented here has many applications and uses across a wide range of fields.

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