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The Space Research Centre are world leaders in the design and development of X-ray focussing technology for both small and large scales. Both applications involve the inclusion of Piezo-electric devices which allow active manipulation of the device’s surface - called adaptive or active optics.

The small scale application is geared towards creating an optic which can focus high energy X-rays to the spot size of a single biological cell for radiation studies. It is hoped that the new optic, a micro optical array (MOA), will allow individual cells to be irradiated and the effect on surrounding cells studied. Current technology only allows large groups of cells to be irradiated and only cell death not mutation can be studied. This will increase our understanding of radiation induced cancers and hopefully lead to better treatments. The large scale application is aimed towards the next generation of large scale X-ray telescopes. In order to increase the size of the telescopes but still be able to launch it, light weight optics are being designed. These thin, light optics are very easily deformed on Earth during production, launch and even just gravity acting on them. Creating adaptive X-ray optics, we can remove all these deformations and increase the resolution and size of our telescopes.

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