Panter X-Ray Test Facility
The PANTER X-ray test facility is located in Neuried on the southwest outskirts of Munich. The aerial photograph shows the 130m long vacuum tube (1m Ø) with the X-ray source system one one end and the main test chamber (12m long and 3.5m Ø) at the other end. It is the second biggest X-ray test facility in the world, and it is superseded in size only by the NASA test facility in Huntsville, USA.
PANTER was originally built to support the ROSAT telescope development. Since then a large number of projects made use of our facility amongst which you find Exosat, BeppoSAX, JET-X, ABRIXAS, XMM-Newton, Swift and Suzaku. For most of these projects the optics was subject of testing at the facility, but also cameras and detectors for these optics as well as filters and gratings (e.g. LETG on Chandra) have been tested and calibrated here.
The PANTER facility is mostly used for characterization of X-ray telescopes. Imaging properties, reflectivity and scattering can be studied on single shells as well as on nested mirror systems or complete telescopes. In addition a huge number of detectors, focal plane instruments, transmission and reflection gratings and X-ray absorption filters have been tested and developed here.
An extension to the facility is available that allows the testing of X-ray optics with focal lengths in the range of 12m to 20m which will be used in future large X-ray observatories (e.g. Athena).
Apart from the capability of X-ray testing the PANTER facility includes a smaller vacuum chamber, in which thermal cycling and thermal vacuum tests for flight qualification of X-ray instrumentation but also spacecraft subsystems is being carried out, e.g. for the XMM-Newton project.