columbia university

The Rainwater Memorial Calibration Facility (RaMCaF) for X-ray optics

The Rainwater Memorial Calibration Facility (RaMCaF) is a 163 m long hard X-ray calibration facility, which is conveniently located right next to the assembly room for the NuSTAR optics at Columbia's Nevis Laboratory.

Facility overview with source room connected to calibration room by 162.2m long tunnel pipe line and calibration room connected to detector room by 10m detector pipe line as shown in the pictures below. The individual components are a) High power X-ray tube b) Thin four-film filter unit and thick (up to 50mm) attenuator. The filter unit is remote controlled while the attenuator block must be inserted and removed manually c) Collimator plate with 12mm aperture d) 22mm diameter 75μm thick Kapton vacuum window e) 48cm diameter Kevlar-reinforced Mylar vacuum window f) Coarse aperture plate g) Autocollimator h) Fine aperture plate i) Calibration bench for mounting optic. Available movements are translation, roll, yaw and pitch indicated by green arrows j/k) 48 cm Kevlar-reinforced Mylar vacuum windows l) Four-blade slit unit. Each blade is 4mm thick Tungsten. Maximum aperture size is 30x30mm2 and the entire unit can be translated and rotated in yaw m) X-ray detector. Detector can be translated n) Beam monitor. Beam monitor can be translated in both X and Y to facilitate unobstructed view during calibration.

For details on the facility see following paper The Rainwater Memorial Calibration Facility (RaMCaF) for X-ray optics, which was published in X-ray Optics and Instrumentation .


X-ray Source: The Comet MXR-160 X-ray tube with tungsten target supplies the facility with X-rays up to 100 keV.


X-ray Source Spectrum.


Detector Tunnel Pipe from Source Room


Detector Tunnel Pipe to Optics Room


Optics Room


Detector Room


The first X-rays were see on January 14, 2010 with Nicolai Brejnholt, Kaya Mori, Melania Nynka and Jason Koglin (from left to right).


The X-ray ground calibration measurements for the NuSTAR flight optics (FM1 and FM2), including installation and alignment, were performed over a period of 18 consecutive days (March 5-22, 2011).


Historical note on the Rainwater Memorial Calibration Facility (RaMCaF)

James Rainwater , 1975 Nobel Laureate, served twice as director of the Nevis Laboratories during his tenure at Columbia University from 1946 until his retirement in 1986. He received his bachelor's degree in Physics from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1939 and shared his Nobel Prize with Danish Aage Bohr and Danish-American Ben Roy Mottelson. An internal NuSTAR calibration facility naming contest selected the suggestion Rainwater Memorial Calibration Facility as the winning contribution due to the multitude of common points between James Rainwater's education and professional life and the NuSTAR collaboration, namely the Technical University of Denmark, DTU (mirror coating), Columbia (optic PI) and Caltech (project and detector PI).


The NuSTAR mission, and through this RaMCaF, is funded by NASA through contract number NNG08FD60C. Additional contributions are provided by DTU.


Created by J. Koglin.
Last updated on Sept-2011.