Leyla Raiani
Jul 30, 2012

NASA X-ray Concept Inspired from a Roll of Scotch® Tape

The inspiration behind NASA scientist’s quest to build a highly specialized X-ray mirror comes from an unusual source: a roll of Scotch® tape. The rounded geometry allows the high-energy light to graze their surfaces, much like a stone skimming the surface of a pond. Dr. Maxim Markevitch and a team of X-ray optics experts at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, have begun investigating the feasibility of fashioning a low-cost mirror and tightly rolling it like the sticky adhesive commonly found in most homes and offices. With funding from NASA's Center Innovation Fund, the team now is pursuing Markevitch's "early-stage" idea and has already begun testing candidate materials that could be fashioned into a rolled mirror capable of collecting X-rays. To capture these ever-elusive photons, the mirrors must be curved and nested inside a cylindrical optical assembly.