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Proceedings Paper

Successor to the RXTE PCA based upon focusing optics
Author(s): Paul Gorenstein
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Paper Abstract

There is broad interest in a next generation timing mission to succeed the PCA of RXTE which will provide more effective area than its 0.6 square meters and much better energy resolution. Currently prospective missions are, like the PCA, based upon large area detectors. Serious consideration should also be given to a focusing system. The focusing system would be a modular array of relatively small diameter imaging telescopes or concentrators with solid state detectors in their focal planes. For areas exceeding a square meter a focusing system could actually be less complex, more reliable, and for one particular optical design perhaps not much more massive. The total detector area would be only a few percent of the telescope aperture, which makes the acquisition of detectors much less challenging. Today it is possible to obtain commercially a sufficient number of detectors with good energy resolution for all the focal planes of the focusing array. They require only modest cooling and that could be accomplished passively in space. Several optical designs are possible. The disadvantages of an optical system are larger mass, more difficultly obtaining broad bandwidth, smaller field of view, and larger volume to accommodate the focal length distance and a larger diameter. On the other hand, the focusing system is more sensitive to fainter sources, is much more efficient below 2 keV, is less sensitive to background and is likely to be less costly overall than an array of solid state area detectors with equally good energy resolution.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 January 2002
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4496, X-Ray Optics for Astronomy: Telescopes, Multilayers, Spectrometers, and Missions, (30 January 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.454362
Show Author Affiliations
Paul Gorenstein, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4496:
X-Ray Optics for Astronomy: Telescopes, Multilayers, Spectrometers, and Missions
Paul Gorenstein; Richard B. Hoover, Editor(s)

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