Allectra has supplied components for the BEaTriX pathfinder facility


INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico Brera is building the unique BEaTriX pathfinder facility (the Beam Expander Testing X-ray facility) in its premises at Merate in Italy.

The facility will be devoted to the acceptance tests of the ∼ 600 mirror module that are the building blocks of the X-ray telescope of ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics). ATHENA is the second Large mission selected by ESA within the Cosmic Vision Program, with launch foreseen in early 2030’s.

BEaTriX will be the first facility able to generate a parallel, uniform and large-area X-ray beam, at the energies of 1.49 and 4.51 keV, starting from the 4.51 keV beam line. The system is very compact (9 × 18 m2), reducing the pump-down time with respect to existing, larger facilities used to test X-ray telescopes. The required vacuum is ≤ 10-6 mbar, which can be reached in less then 1h for the entire facility. Moreover, the vacuum system is designed with modular compartments, separated by gate valves, where the vacuum can be broken independently. This concept will allow the testing of the ∼ 600 modules at the rate of their production (2 MM/day).

As well as supplying the gate valves, Allectra was selected to supply a range of components for the vacuum system including Sub-D feedthroughs, Thermocouple feedthroughs, Liquid feedthrough, viewports, Kapton wires, PT100 Resistor and various types of cables and connectors.

Image top left: Artistic view of the ATHENA telescope (Credit ESA). Top right: the BEaTriX vacuum facility.

Bottom left: the experimental chamber where the modules to be tested are introduced. Gate valves are present to make the sector a vacuum independent one. Bottom right: Conceptual design of the mirror structure and the mirror modules (at the bottom right) to be tested in BEaTriX (Credit ESA, Cosine).

Read more about BEaTriX at INAF/OAB

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