Optical EngineeringOptical imaging chamber for x-ray astronomy
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The light emitted by electron avalanches in a parallel plate chamber can be used to image the tracks of photoelectrons liberated by the interaction of an incident x-ray with the gas filling the chamber. The differing morphologies of photoelectron tracks and high-energy charged particle tracks can be used for background rejection. The initial direction (before scattering) of the liberated photoelectron also contains information about the polarization of the incident radiation. We have built a small test chamber with which we have imaged photoelectron tracks using an intensified CCD camera. Our results show that optical imaging could be used in a hard x-ray imaging polarimeter useful for astronomy.