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Proceedings Paper

A Laue lens for nuclear astrophysics
Author(s): Peter von Ballmoos
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Paper Abstract

Nuclear astrophysics presents an extraordinary scientific potential for the study of the most powerful sources and the most violent events in the Universe. In order to take full advantage of this potential, the next generation of instrumentation for this domain will have to achieve a factor of 10-100 improvement in sensitivity over present technologies. With the development of a Laue Lens we have taken up this challenge: gamma-rays are focused from the large collecting area of a crystal diffraction lens onto a very small detector volume. As a consequence, the background noise is extremely low, making possible unprecedented sensitivities. The detector, a solid state Compton Camera, provides high spectral and angular resolution, and the capability of measuring the polarization of the incident photons. Based on the measured performance of our prototype gamma-ray lens CLAIRE, a mission concept of a space borne Laue lens telescope is outlined. A Laue lens telescope addresses a wide range of fundamental astrophysical questions such as the life cycles of matter and the behavior of matter under extreme conditions. Amongst the primary scientific objectives of a Laue lens telescope is the study of type Ia supernovae by measuring intensities, shifts and shapes of their nuclear gamma-ray lines. Moreover, the sensitive gamma-ray line spectroscopy performed with a Laue lens telescope is expected to clarify the nature of galactic microquasars (e-e+ annihilation radiation from the jets), neutron stars and pulsars, X-ray Binaries, AGN, solar flares and gamma-ray afterglow from gamma-burst counterparts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 June 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6266, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation II: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 626622 (28 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672455
Show Author Affiliations
Peter von Ballmoos, Ctr. d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements (France)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6266:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation II: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Martin J. L. Turner; Günther Hasinger, Editor(s)

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