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Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems

Gain drift compensation with no feedback-loop developed for the X-Ray Integral Field Unit/ATHENA readout chain
Author(s): Damien Prêle; Fabrice Voisin; Cyril Beillimaz; Si Chen; Andrea Goldwurm
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Paper Abstract

The focal plane of the X-Ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) instrument of the Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics observatory is composed of 3840 microcalorimeters. These sensors, based on superconducting transition edge sensors (TES), are read out through a frequency multiplexer. A “base-band feedback” suppresses all the carriers of the multiplexed signal in the superconducting quantum interference devices input coil (cryogenic readout). However, the loop gain of this feedback is too small (less than 10 in the present baseline of the phase A mission) to strongly compensate the readout gain drifts. An onboard x-ray source is considered to calibrate the gain of the full instrument. However, in-flight calibration time must be minimized, which leads to a requirement on the gain stability larger than 10 4 over a long duration (between each calibration) to reach the challenging energy resolution goal of 2.5 eV at 6 keV of the X-IFU. A significant part of this gain is provided by a low-noise amplifier in the warm front-end electronics (WFEE). To reach such gain stability over more than a dozen minutes, this noncooled amplifier has to cope with the temperature and supply voltage variations. Moreover, mainly for noise reasons, a common large loop gain with feedback cannot be used. We propose a new amplifier topology using diodes as loads of a differential amplifier to provide a fixed voltage gain, independent of the temperature and of the bias fluctuations. This amplifier is designed using 350-nm SiGe BiCMOS technology and is part of an integrated circuit developed for the WFEE. Our simulations provide the expected gain and noise performances. Comparison with standard resistive loaded differential pair clearly shows the advantages of the proposed amplifier topology with a gain drift decreased by more than an order of magnitude. Performances of this diode loaded amplifier are discussed in the context of the X-IFU requirements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 December 2016
PDF: 5 pages
J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst. 2(4) 046002 doi: 10.1117/1.JATIS.2.4.046002
Published in: Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems Volume 2, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Damien Prêle, AstroParticule et Cosmologie (France)
Fabrice Voisin, AstroParticule et Cosmologie (France)
Cyril Beillimaz, AstroParticule et Cosmologie (France)
Si Chen, AstroParticule et Cosmologie (France)
Andrea Goldwurm, AstroParticule et Cosmologie (France)
CEA Saclay (France)

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