Polarization aberration analysis of the advanced x-ray astrophysics facility telescope assembly

Russell A. Chipman, Daniel M. Brown, James P. McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The advanced x-ray astrophysics facility (AXAF) telescope consists of six concentric paraboloid-hyperboloid pairs of mirrors that operate near grazing incidence. Because of the substantial polarization effects at large angles of incidence there has been concern regarding the feasibility of doing polarimetrynear the telescope focal plane. The primary mirror is shown to act as a tangentially directed half-wavelinear retarder and to almost completely depolarize the linearly polarized component of the light. Thesecondary mirror introduces an additional half-wave of linear retardance. The two-mirror telescopeassembly acts as a tangentially directed one-wave linear retarder. Each mirror depolarizes alone buttogether the two-mirror assembly preserves the polarization state. The net instrumental polarizationeffects are small and polarimetry is feasible with AXAF. The polarization aberration function for the telescope is derived by using Jones calculus. Polarization aberration functions are used to calculate the effect of instrumental polarization on the transmitted wavefront and the polarization state that is due to the primary mirror and the telescope assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2301-2313
Number of pages13
JournalApplied optics
Issue number13
StatePublished - May 1992


  • Aberrations
  • Apodization
  • Depolarizers
  • Grazing-incidence optics
  • Image formation
  • Point-spread function
  • Polarimetry
  • Polarization
  • Reflection
  • Telescopes
  • X-ray optics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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