Development of piezoelectric actuators for active X-ray optics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Daniel Rodriguez Sanmartin
  • C Atkins
  • D Brooks
  • P Doel
  • C Dunare
  • C Feldman
  • A James
  • A Michette
  • W Parkes
  • S Pfauntsch
  • S Sahraei
  • T Stevenson
  • H Wang
  • R Willingale

Colleges, School and Institutes


Piezoelectric actuators are widely utilised in adaptive optics to enable mirrors having an actively controlled reflective surface for the purpose of the wavefront correction by reducing the effects of rapidly changing optical distortion. Two new prototype adaptive X-ray optical systems are under development with the aim of approaching the fundamental diffraction limit. One proposed technology is microstructured optical arrays (MOAs) involving two or four piezoelectric strips bonded to a silicon wafer to produce a micro-focused X-ray source for biological applications, and which uses grazing incidence reflection through consecutive aligned arrays of channels obtained using deep silicon etching. Another technology is large scale optics which uses a thin shell mirror bonded with 20-40 piezoelectric actuators for the next generation of X-ray telescopes with an aim to achieve a resolution greater than that currently available by Chandra (0.5"). PZT-based piezoelectric actuators are being developed in this programme according to the design and implementation of the proposed mirror and array structures. Viscous plastic processing is chosen for the preparation of the materials system, which is subsequently formed and shaped into the suitable configurations. Precise controls on the thickness, surface finish and the curvature are the key factors to delivering satisfactory actuators. Unimorph type piezoelectric actuators have been proposed for the applications and results are presented regarding the fabrication and characterisation of such piezo-actuators, as well as the related design concepts and comparison to modelling work.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Electroceramics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011


  • Actuator, X-ray optics, Piezoelectric