Proceedings Volume 10397

UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XX

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Proceedings Volume 10397

UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XX

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Volume Details

Date Published: 26 September 2017
Contents: 13 Sessions, 46 Papers, 31 Presentations
Conference: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications 2017
Volume Number: 10397

Table of Contents

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Table of Contents

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  • Front Matter: Volume 10397
  • Solid State Detectors I
  • Solid State Detectors II
  • Solar Missions and Technology
  • X-Ray Missions and Technology I
  • IXPE
  • X-Ray Polarimetry
  • X-Ray Missions and Technology II
  • X-Ray Missions and Technology III
  • UV Missions and Technology I
  • UV Missions and Technology II
  • UV Missions and Technology III
  • Poster Session
Front Matter: Volume 10397
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Front Matter: Volume 10397
This PDF file contains the front matter associated with SPIE Proceedings Volume 10397 including the Title Page, Copyright information, Table of Contents, Introduction, and Conference Committee listing.
Solid State Detectors I
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Modeling and measuring charge sharing in hard x-ray imagers using HEXITEC CdTe detectors
Daniel F. Ryan, Steven D. Christe, Albert Y. Shih, et al.
The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory’s HEXITEC ASIC has been designed to provide fine pixelated X-ray spectroscopic imaging in combination with a CdTe or CZT detector layer. Although HEXITEC’s small pixels enable higher spatial resolution as well as higher spectral resolution via the small-pixel effect, they also increase the probability of charge sharing, a process which degrades spectral performance by dividing the charge induced by a single photon among multiple pixels. In this paper, we investigate the effect of this process on a continuum X-ray spectrum below the Cd and Te fluorescence energies (23 keV). This is done by comparing laboratory measurements with simulations performed with a custom designed model of the HEXITEC ASIC. We find that the simulations closely match the observations implying that we have an adequate understanding of both charge sharing and the HEXITEC ASIC itself. These results can be used to predict the distortion of a spectrum measured with HEXITEC and will help determine to what extent it can be corrected. They also show that models like this one are important tools in developing and interpreting observations from ASICs like HEXITEC.
Advancing the technology of monolithic CMOS detectors for use as x-ray imaging spectrometers
Almus Kenter, Ralph Kraft, Thomas Gauron, et al.
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in collaboration with SRI/Sarnoff has been engaged in a multi year effort to advance the technology of monolithic back-thinned CMOS detectors for use as X-ray imaging spectrometers. The long term goal of this campaign is to produce X-ray Active Pixel Sensor (APS) detectors with Fano limited performance over the 0.1-10keV band while incorporating the many benefits of CMOS technology. These benefits include: low power consumption, radiation “hardness”, high levels of integration, and very high read rates. Such devices would be ideal for candidate post 2020 decadal missions such as LYNX and for smaller more immediate applications such as CubeX. Devices from a recent fabrication have been back-thinned, packaged and tested for soft X-ray response. These devices have 16μm pitch, 6 Transistor Pinned Photo Diode (6TPPD) pixels with ∼135μV/electron sensitivity and a highly parallel signal chain. These new detectors are fabricated on 10μm epitaxial silicon and have a 1k by 1k format. We present details of our camera design and device performance with particular emphasis on those aspects of interest to single photon counting X-ray astronomy. These features include read noise, X-ray spectral response and quantum efficiency.
Recent X-ray hybrid CMOS detector developments and measurements
The Penn State X-ray detector lab, in collaboration with Teledyne Imaging Sensors (TIS), have progressed their efforts to improve soft X-ray Hybrid CMOS detector (HCD) technology on multiple fronts. Having newly acquired a Teledyne cryogenic SIDECARTM ASIC for use with HxRG devices, measurements were performed with an H2RG HCD and the cooled SIDECARTM. We report new energy resolution and read noise measurements, which show a significant improvement over room temperature SIDECARTM operation. Further, in order to meet the demands of future high-throughput and high spatial resolution X-ray observatories, detectors with fast readout and small pixel sizes are being developed. We report on characteristics of new X-ray HCDs with 12.5 micron pitch that include in-pixel CDS circuitry and crosstalk-eliminating CTIA amplifiers. In addition, PSU and TIS are developing a new large-scale array Speedster-EXD device. The original 64 × 64 pixel Speedster-EXD prototype used comparators in each pixel to enable event driven readout with order of magnitude higher effective readout rates, which will now be implemented in a 550 × 550 pixel device. Finally, the detector lab is involved in a sounding rocket mission that is slated to fly in 2018 with an off-plane reflection grating array and an H2RG X-ray HCD. We report on the planned detector configuration for this mission, which will increase the NASA technology readiness level of X-ray HCDs to TRL 9.
Solid State Detectors II
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Preparation for a mesh experiment on a hybrid CMOS detector
The detection of X-rays is a unique process relative to other wavelengths, and allows for some novel features that increase the scientific yield of a single observation. Unlike lower photon energies, X-rays liberate a large number of electrons from the silicon absorber array of the detector. This number is usually on the order of several hundred to a thousand for moderate-energy X-rays. These electrons tend to diffuse outward into what is referred to as the electron cloud. This cloud can then be picked up by several pixels, forming a specific pattern based on the exact incident location. By conducting the first ever “mesh experiment” on a hybrid CMOS detector (HCD), we will experimentally determine the charge cloud shape and use it to characterize responsivity of the detector with subpixel spatial resolution
Solar Missions and Technology
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The VUV instrument SPICE for Solar Orbiter: performance ground testing
Martin E. Caldwell, Nigel Morris, Douglas K. Griffin, et al.
SPICE is an imaging spectrometer operating at vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) wavelengths, 70.4 – 79.0 nm and 97.3 - 104.9 nm. It is a facility instrument on the Solar Orbiter mission, which carries 10 science instruments in all, to make observations of the Sun’s atmosphere and heliosphere, at close proximity to the Sun, i.e to 0.28 A.U. at perihelion. SPICE’s role is to make VUV measurements of plasma in the solar atmosphere. SPICE is designed to achieve spectral imaging at spectral resolution >1500, spatial resolution of several arcsec, and two-dimensional FOV of 11 x16arcmins. The many strong constraints on the instrument design imposed by the mission requirements prevent the imaging performance from exceeding those of previous instruments, but by being closer to the sun there is a gain in spatial resolution. The price which is paid is the harsher environment, particularly thermal. This leads to some novel features in the design, which needed to be proven by ground test programs. These include a dichroic solar-transmitting primary mirror to dump the solar heat, a high in-flight temperature (60deg.C) and gradients in the optics box, and a bespoke variable-line-spacing grating to minimise the number of reflective components used. The tests culminate in the systemlevel test of VUV imaging performance and pointing stability. We will describe how our dedicated facility with heritage from previous solar instruments, is used to make these tests, and show the results, firstly on the Engineering Model of the optics unit, and more recently on the Flight Model. For the keywords, select up to 8 key terms for a search on your manuscript's subject.
Photon counting type imaging spectrometer for solar soft x-rays (Conference Presentation)
Noriyuki Narukage, Shin-nosuke Ishikawa, Tomoko Kawate, et al.
The imaging spectroscopic observations for solar soft X-rays are expected to provide us novel and valuable information about the plasma activity in the solar corona, e.g., particle acceleration, heating, shock, etc. However, this type of observations has not been performed yet with enough energy, spatial, and temporal resolutions. In this situation, we plan to realize the imaging spectroscopic observations for solar soft X-rays with a high speed soft X-ray camera and grazing incidence mirrors. Our developing camera consists of a back-illuminated CMOS sensor. This censor has a sensitivity to soft X-rays (0.5 keV - 10 keV), and can perform continuous exposures of 1,000 frame per second for the imaging area of 1k x 100 pixels. We will mount this camera on the FOXSI-3 sounding rocket that is planned to be launched in the summer of 2018. By the combination of our camera and the X-ray mirror on the FOXSI, we can achieve an energy resolution of 0.2 keV, a spatial resolution of ~5 arcsec (1 arcsec sampling), and the temporal resolution of ~10 seconds in an energy range of 0.5 keV - 10 keV. In this presentation, we will explain the science goal, the instrumental design, and the developments of the solar soft X-ray imaging spectrometer.
X-Ray Missions and Technology I
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Calibration of the hard x-ray detectors for the FOXSI solar sounding rocket
P. S. Athiray, Juan Camilo Buitrago-Casas, Kendra Bergstedt, et al.
The Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI) sounding rocket experiment conducts direct imaging and spectral observation of the Sun in hard X-rays, in the energy range 4 to 20 keV. These high-sensitivity observations are used to study particle acceleration and coronal heating. FOXSI is designed with seven grazing incidence optics modules that focus X-rays onto seven focal plane detectors kept at a 2m distance. FOXSI-1 was flown with seven Double-sided Si Strip Detectors (DSSD), and two of them were replaced with CdTe detectors for FOXSI-2. The upcoming FOXSI-3 flight will carry DSSD and CdTe detectors with upgraded optics for enhanced sensitivity. The detectors are calibrated using various radioactive sources. The detector’s spectral response matrix was constructed with diagonal elements using a Gaussian approximation with a spread (sigma) that accounts for the energy resolution of the detector. Spectroscopic studies of past FOXSI flight data suggest that the inclusion of lower energy X-rays could better constrain the spectral modeling to yield a more precise temperature estimation of the hot plasma. This motivates us to carry out an improved calibration to better understand the finer-order effects on the spectral response, especially at lower energies. Here we report our improved calibration of FOXSI detectors using experiments and Monte-Carlo simulations.
Strontium Iodide Radiation Instrumentation (SIRI)
Lee J. Mitchell, Bernard F. Phlips, Richard S. Woolf, et al.
The Strontium Iodide Radiation Instrumentation (SIRI) is designed to space-qualify new gamma-ray detector technology for space-based astrophysical and defense applications. This new technology offers improved energy resolution, lower power consumption and reduced size compared to similar systems. The SIRI instrument consists of a single europiumdoped strontium iodide (SrI2:Eu) scintillation detector. The crystal has an energy resolution of 3% at 662 keV compared to the 6.5% of traditional sodium iodide and was developed for terrestrial-based weapons of mass destruction (WMD) detection. SIRI’s objective is to study the internal activation of the SrI2:Eu material and measure the performance of the silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) readouts over a 1-year mission. The combined detector and readout measure the gammaray spectrum over the energy range of 0.04 - 4 MeV. The SIRI mission payoff is a space-qualified compact, highsensitivity gamma-ray spectrometer with improved energy resolution relative to previous sensors. Scientific applications in solar physics and astrophysics include solar flares, Gamma Ray Bursts, novae, supernovae, and the synthesis of the elements. Department of Defense (DoD) and security applications are also possible. Construction of the SIRI instrument has been completed, and it is currently awaiting integration onto the spacecraft. The expected launch date is May 2018 onboard STPSat-5. This work discusses the objectives, design details and the STPSat-5 mission concept of operations of the SIRI spectrometer.
Modeling contamination migration on the Chandra X-ray Observatory IV
Stephen L. O'Dell, Douglas A. Swartz, Neil W. Tice, et al.
During its first 18 years of operation, the cold (about -60°C) optical blocking filters of the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS), aboard the Chandra X-ray Observatory, has accumulated a growing layer of molecular contamination, which attenuates low-energy x rays. Over the past several years, the accumulation rate, spatial distribution, and composition have changed. This evolution has motivated further analysis of contamination migration within and near the ACIS cavity, in part to evaluate potential bake-out scenarios intended to reduce the level of contamination. This paper, the fourth on this topic, reports the results of recent contamination-migration simulations and their relevance to a decision whether to bake-out the ACIS instrument.
The evaluation of the Hitomi (Astro-H)/SXS spare beryllium window in 3.8-30 keV
During the Hitomi (Astro-H) commissioning observations the SXS dewar gate valve (GV) remained closed to protect the instrument from initial spacecraft outgassing. As a result, the optical path of the observations included the Be window installed on the GV. Both x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis and x-ray transmission measurements were performed in June 2016 on the flight-spare Be window which is the same lot as the flight material at SPring-8 in Japan. The beamline operating range is 3.8 - 30 keV. We used a beam spot size of 1 mm × 0.2 mm to measure two positions on the Be window, at the center of the window and at one position 6.5 mm off-center. We used simultaneous transmission measurements of standard materials for energy calibration. The transmission data clearly showed Fe and Ni K-edges, plus a marginal detection of the Mn K-edge. We found that our transmission data was best fit using the following component Be: 261.86±0.01μm, Cr: 3nm (fixed), Mn: 3.81±0.05nm, Fe: 10.83±0.05nm, Ni: 16.48±0.03nm, Cu: 5nm (fixed). The transmission is reduced 1% at the Fe K-edge. The amount of contaminated materials are comparable to the values of the value provided by the vender. The surface transmission is strained with σ = 0.11% of the unbiased standard deviation calculated variation in the residuals between the measured value and the model.
IXPE
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The gas pixel detector on board the IXPE mission
Carmelo Sgrò
Polarimetry is universally recognized as one of the new frontiers in X-ray astrophysics. It is a powerful tool to investigate a variety of astrophysical processes, as well as a mean to study fundamental physics in space. The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) has been selected by NASA to be the next mission dedicated to X-ray polarimetry. It is based on a Gas Pixel Detector that is able to add polarization measurement to imaging and spectroscopy, and will be placed at the focus of a conventional X-ray optics. The detector exploits the photoelectric effect in gas and a finely segmented ASIC as a collecting anode. In this work I will describe in detail the experimental technique and the detector that will fly on the IXPE mission.
Calibrating the IXPE observatory from ground to space
Fabio Muleri, Luca Baldini, Wayne Baumgartner, et al.
The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) will be the next SMEX mission launched by NASA in 2021 in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI). IXPE will perform groundbreaking measurements of imaging polarization in X-rays for a number of different classes of sources with three identical telescopes, finally (re)opening a window in the high energy Universe after more than 40 years since the first pioneering results. The unprecedented sensitivity of IXPE to polarization poses peculiar requirements on the payload calibration, e.g. the use of polarized and completely unpolarized radiation, both on ground and in orbit, and can not rely on a systematic comparison with results obtained by previous observatories. In this paper, we will present the IXPE calibration plan, describing both calibrations which will be performed on the detectors at INAF-IAPS in Rome (Italy) and the calibration on the mirror and detector assemblies which will be carried out at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. On orbit calibrations, performed with calibrations sources mounted on a filter wheel and placed in front of each detector when necessary, will be presented as well.
Imaging as a tool for the characterization of the gas pixel detector photoelectric polarimeter
Sergio Fabiani
The Gas Pixel Detector (GPD) is an X-ray polarimeter exploiting the photoelectric effect both to measure polarization and to obtain the image of astrophysical sources. This detector is on board the IXPE (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) mission selected by NASA in the framework of the Explorer program. We report on the imaging capability of the GPD as a tool to perform a full detector characterization. The analysis of a radiation beam penetrating inclined in the gas cell is discussed showing how this measurement can be used to study different properties of the gas.
IXPE the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer
IXPE, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, has been selected as a NASA SMEX mission to be flown in 2021. It will perform polarimetry resolved in energy, in time and in angle as a break-through in High Energy Astrophysics. IXPE promises to ’re-open’, after 40 years, a window in X-ray astronomy adding two more observables to the usual ones. It will directly measure the geometrical parameters of many different classes of sources eventually breaking possible degeneracies. The probed angular scales (30”) are capable of producing the first X-ray polarization maps of extended objects with scientifically relevant sensitivity. This will permit mapping the magnetic fields in Pulsar Wind Nebulae and Super-Nova Remnants at the acceleration sites of 10-100 TeV electrons. Additionally, it will probe vacuum birefringence effects in systems with magnetic fields far larger than those reachable with experiments on Earth. The payload of IXPE consists of three identical telescopes with mirrors provided by MSFC/NASA. The focal plane is provided by ASI with IAPS/INAF responsible for the overall instrument that includes detector units that are provided by INFN. ASI also provides, in kind, the Malindi Ground Station. LASP is responsible for the Mission Operation Center while the Science Operation Center is at MSFC. The operations phase lasts at least two years. All the data including those related to polarization will be made available quickly to the general user. In this paper we present the mission, its payload and we discuss a few examples of astrophysical targets.
X-Ray Polarimetry
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The rocket experiment demonstration of a soft x-ray polarimeter (REDSoX Polarimeter)
Herman L. Marshall, Norbert S. Schulz, Sarah N. Trowbridge Heine, et al.
The Rocket Experiment Demonstration of a Soft X-ray Polarimeter (REDSoX Polarimeter) is a sounding rocket instrument that can make the first measurement of the linear X-ray polarization of an extragalactic source in the 0.2-0.8 keV band as low as 10%. We employ multilayer-coated mirrors as Bragg reflectors at the Brewster angle. By matching the dispersion of a spectrometer using replicated optics from MSFC and critical angle transmission gratings from MIT to three laterally graded multilayer mirrors (LGMLs), we achieve polarization modulation factors over 90%. We present a novel arrangement of gratings, designed optimally for the purpose of polarimetry with a converging beam. The entrance aperture is divided into six equal sectors; pairs of blazed gratings from opposite sectors are oriented to disperse to the same LGML. The LGML position angles are 120 degrees to each other. CCD detectors then measure the intensities of the dispersed spectra after reflection and polarizing by the LGMLs, giving the three Stokes parameters needed to determine a source’s linear polarization fraction and orientation. A current grant is funding further development to improve the LGMLs. Sample gratings for the project have been fabricated at MIT and the development team continues to improve them under separate funding. Our technological approach is the basis for a possible orbital mission
Preparations for the Advanced Scintillator Compton Telescope (ASCOT) balloon flight
T. Sharma, P. F. Bloser, J. S. Legere, et al.
We describe our ongoing work to develop a new medium-energy gamma-ray Compton telescope using advanced scintillator materials combined with silicon photomultiplier readouts and fly it on a scientific balloon. There is a need in high-energy astronomy for a medium-energy gamma-ray mission covering the energy range from approximately 0.4 - 20 MeV to follow the success of the COMPTEL instrument on CGRO. We believe that directly building on the legacy of COMPTEL, using relatively robust, low-cost, off-the-shelf technologies, is the most promising path for such a mission. Fortunately, high-performance scintillators, such as Cerium Bromide (CeBr3) and p-terphenyl, and compact readout devices, such as silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs), are already commercially available and capable of meeting this need. We are now constructing an Advanced Scintillator Compton Telescope (ASCOT) with SiPM readout, with the goal of imaging the Crab Nebula at MeV energies from a high-altitude balloon flight. We expect a ~4-sigma detection at ~1 MeV in a single transit. We present calibration results of the detector modules, and updated simulations of the balloon instrument sensitivity. If successful, this project will demonstrate that the energy, timing, and position resolution of this technology are sufficient to achieve an order of magnitude improvement in sensitivity in the medium-energy gamma-ray band, were it to be applied to a ~1 cubic meter instrument on a long-duration balloon or Explorer platform.
XIMPOL: a new x-ray polarimetry observation-simulation and analysis framework
Nicola Omodei, Luca Baldini, Melissa Pesce-Rollins, et al.
We present a new simulation framework, XIMPOL, based on the python programming language and the Scipy stack, specifically developed for X-ray polarimetric applications. XIMPOL is not tied to any specific mission or instrument design and is meant to produce fast and yet realistic observation-simulations, given as basic inputs: (i) an arbitrary source model including morphological, temporal, spectral and polarimetric information, and (ii) the response functions of the detector under study, i.e., the effective area, the energy dispersion, the point-spread function and the modulation factor. The format of the response files is OGIP compliant, and the framework has the capability of producing output files that can be directly fed into the standard visualization and analysis tools used by the X-ray community, including XSPEC which make it a useful tool not only for simulating physical systems, but also to develop and test end-to-end analysis chains.
X-Ray Missions and Technology II
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Development of digital system for the wide-field x-ray imaging detector aboard Kanazawa-SAT3
Yasuaki Kagawa, Daisuke Yonetoku, Tatsuya Sawano, et al.
We are planning to launch a micro satellite, Kanazawa-SAT3 , at the end of FY2018 to localize X-ray transients associated with gravitational wave sources. Now we are testing a prototype model of wide-field Xray imaging detector named T-LEX (Transient Localization EXperiment). T-LEX is an orthogonally distributed two sets of 1-dimensional silicon strip detectors with coded aperture masks, and covers more than 1 steradian field of view in the energy range of 1 – 20 keV. Each dimension has 512 readout electrodes (totally 1,024 channels), and they are read out with application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) controlled by two onboard FPGAs. Moreover, each FPGA calculates the cross correlation between the X-ray intensity and mask patterns every 64 msec, makes a histogram of lightcurves and energy spectra, and also plays a role of telemetry/command interface to mission CPU. In this paper, we report an overview of digital electronics system. Especially, we focus on the high-speed imaging processor on FPGA and demonstrate its performance as an X-ray imaging system.
The survey and time-domain astrophysical research explorer (STAR-X) (Conference Presentation)
STAR-X was proposed in December 2016 as a MIDEX mission for launch in 2023. It is an X-ray telescope with the following characteristics: (1) large field of view; (2) excellent uniform PSF in the entire FOV; and (3) large effective area. STAR-X will catch and study transients, including those resulting from mergers of compact objects, supernova explosions, tidal disruptions, and gamma ray bursts. STAR-X will also conduct surveys to study the growth of compact objects, including stellar mass black holes in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies as well as distant, high-redshift supermassive black holes. The capabilities of STAR-X also enable the study of hot, low surface brightness diffuse emission from galaxy clusters and supernova remnants. STAR-X is facilitated by a spacecraft bus capable of autonomous and fast slewing to targets of opportunity. In this paper we will describe the STAR-X mission design, technology, and major science objectives and its synergy with other major observatories in the 2020s, including eROSITA, JWST, WFIRST, and Athena.
Performance of a double tilted-Rowland-spectrometer on Arcus
Spectroscopy of soft X-rays is an extremely powerful tool to understand the physics of the hot plasma in the universe but in many cases, such as kinematic properties of stellar emission lines or weak absorption features, we have reached the limits of current instrumentation. Critical-angle transmission (CAT) gratings blaze the dispersed spectra into high orders and also offer a high throughput. We present detailed ray-traces for the Arcus mission, which promises an effective area > 0.5 m2 and resolving power > 2500 in the soft X-rays. The mirror consists of Athena-like silicon pore optics (SPOs) arranged in four petals. Each petal spans an azimuth of about 30 degrees and thus offers a point-spread function that is significantly narrower in one dimension than a full mirror would provide. The four channels are split into two pairs, where each pair has its own optical axis. For each pair, CAT gratings are arranged on a tilted Rowland torus and the two separate tori are positioned to overlap in such a way that the dispersed spectra from both pairs can be imaged onto a common set of CCD detectors, while at the same time keeping the requirement of the spectroscopic focus. Our ray-traces show that a set of 16 CCDs is sufficient to cover both zeroths orders and over 90% of the dispersed signal. We study the impact of misalignment, finite size of components, and spacecraft jitter on the spectral resolution and effective area and prove that the design achieves R > 4000 even in the presence of these non-ideal effects.
Arcus: exploring the formation and evolution of clusters, galaxies, and stars
R. K. Smith, M. Abraham, R. Allured, et al.
Arcus, a Medium Explorer (MIDEX) mission, was selected by NASA for a Phase A study in August 2017. The observatory provides high-resolution soft X-ray spectroscopy in the 12-50Å bandpass with unprecedented sensitivity: effective areas of >450 cm2 and spectral resolution >2500. The Arcus key science goals are (1) to measure the effects of structure formation imprinted upon the hot baryons that are predicted to lie in extended halos around galaxies, groups, and clusters, (2) to trace the propagation of outflowing mass, energy, and momentum from the vicinity of the black hole to extragalactic scales as a measure of their feedback and (3) to explore how stars, circumstellar disks and exoplanet atmospheres form and evolve. Arcus relies upon the same 12m focal length grazing-incidence silicon pore X-ray optics (SPO) that ESA has developed for the Athena mission; the focal length is achieved on orbit via an extendable optical bench. The focused X-rays from these optics are diffracted by high-efficiency Critical-Angle Transmission (CAT) gratings, and the results are imaged with flight-proven CCD detectors and electronics. The power and telemetry requirements on the spacecraft are modest. Mission operations are straightforward, as most observations will be long (~100 ksec), uninterrupted, and pre-planned, although there will be capabilities to observe sources such as tidal disruption events or supernovae with a ~3 day turnaround. Following the 2nd year of operation, Arcus will transition to a proposal-driven guest observatory facility.
An introduction to the water recovery x-ray rocket
The Water Recovery X-ray Rocket (WRXR) is a sounding rocket payload that will launch from the Kwajalein Atoll in April 2018 and seeks to be the first astrophysics sounding rocket payload to be water recovered by NASA. WRXR's primary instrument is a grating spectrometer that consists of a mechanical collimator, X-ray reflection gratings, grazing-incidence mirrors, and a hybrid CMOS detector. The instrument will obtain a spectrum of the diffuse soft X-ray emission from the northern part of the Vela supernova remnant and is optimized for 3rd and 4th order OVII emission. Utilizing a field of view of 3.25° × 3.25° and resolving power of λ/δλ ≈40-50 in the lines of interest, the WRXR spectrometer aims to achieve the most highly-resolved spectrum of Vela's diffuse soft X-ray emission. This paper presents introductions to the payload and the science target.
X-Ray Missions and Technology III
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Lynx Mission concept status
Lynx is a concept under study for prioritization in the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Providing orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity over Chandra, Lynx will examine the first black holes and their galaxies, map the large-scale structure and galactic halos, and shed new light on the environments of young stars and their planetary systems. In order to meet the Lynx science goals, the telescope consists of a high-angular resolution optical assembly complemented by an instrument suite that may include a High Definition X-ray Imager, X-ray Microcalorimeter and an X-ray Grating Spectrometer. The telescope is integrated onto the spacecraft to form a comprehensive observatory concept. Progress on the formulation of the Lynx telescope and observatory configuration is reported in this paper.
Conceptual design of the SMART dosimeter
Erik B. Johnson, Sam Vogel, Rebecca Frank, et al.
Active dosimeters for astronauts and space weather monitors are critical tools for mitigating radiation induced health issues or system failure on capital equipment. Commercial spaceflight, deep space flight, and satellites require smarter, smaller, and lower power dosimeters. There are a number of instruments with flight heritage, yet as identified in NASA’s roadmaps, these technologies do not lend themselves to a viable solution for active dosimetry for an astronaut, particularly for deep space missions. For future missions, nano- and micro-satellites will require compact instruments that will accurately assess the radiation hazard without consuming major resources on the spacecraft. RMD has developed the methods for growing an advanced scintillation material called phenylcarbazole, which provides pulse shape discrimination between protons and electrons. When used in combination with an anti-coincidence detector system, an assessment of the dose from charged ions and neutral particles can be determined. This is valuable as damage on a system (such as silicon or tissue) is dependent on the particle species. Using this crystal with readout electronics developed in partnership with COSMIAC at the University of New Mexico, the design of the Small Mixed field Autonomous Radiation Tracker (SMART) Dosimeter consists of a low-power analog to digital conversion scheme with low-power digital signal processing algorithms, which are to be implemented within a compact system on a chip, such as the Xilinx Zynq series. A review of the conceptual design is presented.
Studies of prototype DEPFET sensors for the Wide Field Imager of Athena
Wolfgang Treberspurg, Robert Andritschke, Alexander Bähr, et al.
The Wide Field Imager (WFI) of ESA’s next X-ray observatory Athena will combine a high count rate capability with a large field of view, both with state-of-the-art spectroscopic performance. To meet these demands, specific DEPFET active pixel detectors have been developed and operated. Due to the intrinsic amplification of detected signals they are best suited to achieve a high speed and low noise performance. Different fabrication technologies and transistor geometries have been implemented on a dedicated prototype production in the course of the development of the DEPFET sensors. The main modifications between the sensors concern the shape of the transistor gate – regarding the layout – and the thickness of the gate oxide – regarding the technology. To facilitate the fabrication and testing of the resulting variety of sensors the presented studies were carried out with 64×64 pixel detectors. The detector comprises a control ASIC (Switcher-A), a readout ASIC (VERITAS- 2) and the sensor. In this paper we give an overview on the evaluation of different prototype sensors. The most important results, which have been decisive for the identification of the optimal fabrication technology and transistor layout for subsequent sensor productions are summarized. It will be shown that the developments result in an excellent performance of spectroscopic X-ray DEPFETs with typical noise values below 2.5 ENC at 2.5 μs/row.
The Wide Field Imager instrument for Athena
Norbert Meidinger, Marco Barbera, Valentin Emberger, et al.
ESA’s next large X-ray mission ATHENA is designed to address the Cosmic Vision science theme 'The Hot and Energetic Universe'. It will provide answers to the two key astrophysical questions how does ordinary matter assemble into the large-scale structures we see today and how do black holes grow and shape the Universe. The ATHENA spacecraft will be equipped with two focal plane cameras, a Wide Field Imager (WFI) and an X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU). The WFI instrument is optimized for state-of-the-art resolution spectroscopy over a large field of view of 40 amin x 40 amin and high count rates up to and beyond 1 Crab source intensity. The cryogenic X-IFU camera is designed for high-spectral resolution imaging. Both cameras share alternately a mirror system based on silicon pore optics with a focal length of 12 m and large effective area of about 2 m2 at an energy of 1 keV. Although the mission is still in phase A, i.e. studying the feasibility and developing the necessary technology, the definition and development of the instrumentation made already significant progress. The herein described WFI focal plane camera covers the energy band from 0.2 keV to 15 keV with 450 μm thick fully depleted back-illuminated silicon active pixel sensors of DEPFET type. The spatial resolution will be provided by one million pixels, each with a size of 130 μm x 130 μm. The time resolution requirement for the WFI large detector array is 5 ms and for the WFI fast detector 80 μs. The large effective area of the mirror system will be completed by a high quantum efficiency above 90% for medium and higher energies. The status of the various WFI subsystems to achieve this performance will be described and recent changes will be explained here.
Updates on experimental grazing angle soft proton scattering
S. Diebold, S. Hanschke, E. Perinati, et al.
Astronomical X-ray observatories are exposed to various kinds of orbital radiation that has the potential to compromise observations and to degrade the performance of the instruments. Particularly the soft proton component with energies below 10 MeV poses a major source for observational background and particle-induced damages in solid-state detectors. In-orbit experience has proven that soft protons are funneled much more efficient through Wolter-type X-ray optics than expected from simulations. In order to improve and validate simulations and, therefore, to enable a more realistic assessment of the soft proton flux near the focal plane of future X-ray telescopes, a series of grazing angle scattering experiments is being conducted at the University of T¨ubingen. In this contribution, the latest improvements of the experimental setup as well as preliminary results for the azimuthal scattering distribution are presented.
ATHENA: system design and implementation for a next-generation x-ray telescope
ATHENA, Europe’s next generation x-ray telescope, is currently under Assessment Phase study with parallel candidate industrial Prime contractors after selection for the 'L2' slot in ESA's Cosmic Vision Programme, with a mandate to address the 'Hot and Energetic Universe' Cosmic Vision science theme. This paper will consider the main technical requirements of the mission, and their mapping to resulting design choices at both mission and spacecraft level. The reference mission architecture and current reference spacecraft design will then be described, with particular emphasis given to description of the Science Instrument Module (SIM) design, currently under the responsibility of the ESA Study Team. The SIM is a very challenging item due primarily to the need to provide to the instruments (i) a soft ride during launch, and (ii) a very large (~3 kW) heat dissipation capability at varying interface temperatures and locations.
UV Missions and Technology I
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Life testing of ALD-GCA MCPs: recent results (Conference Presentation)
Mark A. Popecki, Christopher A. Craven, Till Cremer, et al.
Microchannel plates have been made by combining glass capillary substrates with thin films. The films impart the resistance and secondary electron emission (SEE) properties of the MCP. This approach permits separate choices for the type of glass, the MCP resistance and the SEE material. For example, the glass may be chosen to provide mechanical strength, a high open area ratio, or a low potassium-40 concentration to minimize dark rates. The resistive film composition may be tuned to provide the desired resistance, depending on the power budget and anticipated count rate. Finally, the SEE material may be chosen by balancing requirements for gain, long term stability of gain with extracted charge, and tolerance to air exposure. Microchannel plates have been fabricated by Incom Inc., in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory and UC Berkeley. Glass substrates with microchannel diameters of 10 and 20 microns have been used, typically with a length to diameter ratio of 60:1. Thin films for resistance and SEE are applied using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). The ALD technique provides a film with uniform thickness throughout the high aspect ratio microchannels. MCPs have been made in sizes up to 8”x8”. This three-component method for manufacturing MCPs also makes non-planar, curved MCPs possible. Life testing results will be presented for 10 and 20 micron, 60:1 l/d ratio MCPs, with an aluminum oxide SEE film and two types of glass substrates. Results will include measurements of resistance, dark count rates, gain, and pulse height distributions as a function of extracted charge.
ALD-microchannel plates for cryogenic applications (Conference Presentation)
Till Cremer, Bernhard W. Adams, Melvin Aviles, et al.
Atomic layer deposition (ALD) has enabled the development of a new technology for fabricating microchannel plates (MCPs) with improved performance that offer transformative benefits to a wide variety of applications. Incom uses a “hollow-core” process for fabricating glass capillary array (GCA) plates consisting of millions of micrometer-sized glass microchannels fused together in a regular pattern. The resistive and secondary electron emissive (SEE) functions necessary for electron amplification are applied to the GCA microchannels by ALD, which – in contrast to conventional MCP manufacturing– enables independent tuning of both resistance and SEE to maximize and customize MCP performance. Incom is currently developing MCPs that operate at cryogenic temperatures and across wide temperature ranges. The resistive layers in both, conventional and ALD-MCPs, exhibit semiconductor-like behavior and therefore a negative thermal coefficient of resistance (TCR): when the MCP is cooled, the resistance increases, and when heated, the resistance drops. Consequently, the resistance of each MCP must be tailored for the intended operating temperature. This sensitivity to temperature changes presents a challenge for many terrestrial and space based applications. The resistivity of the ALD-nanocomposite material can be tuned over a wide range. The material’s (thermo-) electrical properties depend on film thickness, composition, nanostructure, and the chemical nature of the dielectric and metal components. We show how the structure-property relationships developed in this work can be used to design MCPs that operate reliably at cryogenic temperatures. We also present data on how the resistive material’s TCR characteristics can be improved to enable MCPs operating across wider temperature ranges than currently possible.
Microchannel plate detector technology potential for LUVOIR and HabEx
Microchannel plate (MCP) detectors have been the detector of choice for ultraviolet (UV) instruments onboard many NASA missions. These detectors have many advantages, including high spatial resolution (<20 μm), photon counting, radiation hardness, large formats (up to 20 cm), and ability for curved focal plane matching. Novel borosilicate glass MCPs with atomic layer deposition combine extremely low backgrounds, high strength, and tunable secondary electron yield. GaN and combinations of bialkali/alkali halide photocathodes show promise for broadband, higher quantum efficiency. Cross-strip anodes combined with compact ASIC readout electronics enable high spatial resolution over large formats with high dynamic range. The technology readiness levels of these technologies are each being advanced through research grants for laboratory testing and rocket flights. Combining these capabilities would be ideal for UV instruments onboard the Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) and the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HABEX) concepts currently under study for NASA’s Astrophysics Decadal Survey.
Microchannel plate life testing for UV spectroscopy instruments
N. T. Darling, O. H. W. Siegmund, T. Curtis, et al.
The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) UV Spectrograph (EMUS) is a far ultraviolet (102 nm to 170 nm) imaging spectrograph for characterization of the Martian exosphere and thermosphere. Imaging is accomplished by a photon counting open-face microchannel plate (MCP) detector using a cross delay line (XDL) readout. An MCP gain stabilization (“scrub”) followed by lifetime spectral line burn-in simulation has been completed on a bare MCP detector at SSL. Gain and sensitivity stability of better than 7% has been demonstrated for total dose of 2.5 × 1012 photons cm−2 (2 C · cm−2 ) at 5.5 kHz mm−2 counting rates, validating the efficacy of an initial low gain full-field scrub.
UV Missions and Technology II
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The LUVOIR Ultraviolet Multi-Object Spectrograph (LUMOS): instrument definition and design
Kevin France, Brian Fleming, Garrett West, et al.
The Large Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR) is one of four large mission concepts currently undergoing community study for consideration by the 2020 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey. LUVOIR is being designed to pursue an ambitious program of exoplanetary discovery and characterization, cosmic origins astrophysics, and planetary science. The LUVOIR study team is investigating two large telescope apertures (9- and 15-meter primary mirror diameters) and a host of science instruments to carry out the primary mission goals. Many of the exoplanet, cosmic origins, and planetary science goals of LUVOIR require high-throughput, imaging spectroscopy at ultraviolet (100 – 400 nm) wavelengths. The LUVOIR Ultraviolet Multi-Object Spectrograph, LUMOS, is being designed to support all of the UV science requirements of LUVOIR, from exoplanet host star characterization to tomography of circumgalactic halos to water plumes on outer solar system satellites. LUMOS offers point source and multi-object spectroscopy across the UV bandpass, with multiple resolution modes to support different science goals. The instrument will provide low (R = 8,000 – 18,000) and medium (R = 30,000 – 65,000) resolution modes across the far-ultraviolet (FUV: 100 – 200 nm) and nearultraviolet (NUV: 200 – 400 nm) windows, and a very low resolution mode (R = 500) for spectroscopic investigations of extremely faint objects in the FUV. Imaging spectroscopy will be accomplished over a 3 × 1.6 arcminute field-of-view by employing holographically-ruled diffraction gratings to control optical aberrations, microshutter arrays (MSA) built on the heritage of the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), advanced optical coatings for high-throughput in the FUV, and next generation large-format photon-counting detectors. The spectroscopic capabilities of LUMOS are augmented by an FUV imaging channel (100 – 200nm, 13 milliarcsecond angular resolution, 2 × 2 arcminute field-of-view) that will employ a complement of narrow- and medium-band filters. The instrument definition, design, and development are being carried out by an instrument study team led by the University of Colorado, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the LUVOIR Science and Technology Definition Team. LUMOS has recently completed a preliminary design in Goddard’s Instrument Design Laboratory and is being incorporated into the working LUVOIR mission concept. In this proceeding, we describe the instrument requirements for LUMOS, the instrument design, and technology development recommendations to support the hardware required for LUMOS. We present an overview of LUMOS’ observing modes and estimated performance curves for effective area, spectral resolution, and imaging performance. Example “LUMOS 100-hour Highlights” observing programs are presented to demonstrate the potential power of LUVOIR’s ultraviolet spectroscopic capabilities.
The development and characterization of advanced broadband mirror coatings for the far-UV
Arika Egan, Brian T. Fleming, James Wiley, et al.
We present a progress report on the development of new broadband mirror coatings that demonstrate ⪆ 80% reflectivities from 1020−5000Å. Four different coating recipes are presented as candidates for future far-ultraviolet (FUV) sensitive broadband observatories. Three samples were first coated with aluminum (Al) and lithium fluoride (LiF) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) using a new high-temperature physical vapor deposition (PVD) process. Two of these samples then had an ultrathin (10−20 Å) protective coat of either magnesium fluoride (MgF2) or aluminum fluoride (AlF3) applied using atomic later deposition (ALD) at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). A fourth sample was coated with Al and a similar high temperature PVD coating of AlF3. Polarized reflectivities into the FUV for each sample were obtained through collaboration with the Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We present a procedure for using these reflectivities as a baseline for calculating the optical constants of each coating recipe. Given these results, we describe plans for improving our measurement methodology and techniques to develop and characterize these coating recipes for future FUV missions.
Optical measurements of the mirrors and of the interferential filter of the Metis coronagraph on Solar Orbiter
P. Sandri, P. Sarra, P. Radaelli, et al.
The paper describes the wavefront error measurements of the concave ellipsoidal mirrors M1 and M2, of the concave spherical mirror M0 and of the flat interferential filter IF of the Metis coronagraph. Metis is an inverted occultation coronagraph on board of the ESA Solar Orbiter mission providing a broad-band imaging of the full corona in linearly polarized visible-light (580 - 640 nm) and a narrow-band imaging of the full corona in the ultraviolet Lyman α (121.6 nm). Metis will observe the solar outer atmosphere from a close distance to the Sun as 0.28 A.U. and from up to 35deg out-of-ecliptic. The measurements of wavefront error of the mirrors and of the interferential filter of Metis have been performed in a ISO5 clean room both at component level and at assembly level minimizing, during the integration, the stress introduced by the mechanical hardware. The wavefront error measurements have been performed with a digital interferometer for mirrors M0, M1 and M2 and with a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor for the interferential filter.
UV Missions and Technology III
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LRO-LAMP failsafe door-open performance: improving FUV measurements of dayside lunar hydration
Michael W. Davis, Thomas K. Greathouse, David E. Kaufmann, et al.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s (LRO) Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) is a lightweight (6.1 kg), lowpower (4.5 W), ultraviolet spectrograph based on the Alice instruments aboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft and NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Its primary job is to identify and localize exposed water frost in permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) near the Moon’s poles, and to characterize landforms and albedos in PSRs. LRO launched on June 18, 2009 and reached lunar orbit four days later. LAMP operated with its failsafe door closed for its first seven years in flight. The failsafe door was opened in October 2016 to increase light throughput during dayside operations at the expense of no longer having the capacity to take further dark observations and slightly more operational complexity to avoid saturating the instrument. This one-time irreversible operation was approved after extensive review, and was conducted flawlessly. The increased throughput allows measurement of dayside hydration in one orbit, instead of averaging multiple orbits together to reach enough signal-to-noise. The new measurement mode allows greater time resolution of dayside water migration for improved investigations into the source and loss processes on the lunar surface. LAMP performance and optical characteristics after the failsafe door opening are described herein, including the new effective area, wavelength solution, and resolution.
Scattered light characterization of FORTIS
Stephan R. McCandliss, Anna Carter, Keith Redwine, et al.
We describe our efforts to build a Wide-Field Lyman alpha Geocoronal simulator (WFLaGs) for characterizing the end-to-end sensitivity of FORTIS (Far-UV Off Rowland-circle Telescope for Imaging and Spectroscopy) to scattered Lyman α emission from outside of the nominal (1/2 degree)2 field-of-view. WFLaGs is a 50 mm diameter F/1 aluminum parabolic collimator fed by a hollow cathode discharge lamp with a 80 mm clear MgF2 window housed in a vacuum skin. It creates emission over a 10 degree FOV. WFLaGS will allow us to validate and refine a recently developed scattered light model and verify our scatter light mitigation strategies, which will incorporate low scatter baffle materials, and possibly 3-d printed light traps, covering exposed scatter centers. We present measurements of scattering intensity of Lyman alpha as a function of angle with respect to the specular reflectance direction for several candidate baffle materials. Initial testing of WFLaGs will be described.
Low-latitude ionospheric research using the CIRCE Mission: instrumentation overview
K. F. Dymond, A. C. Nicholas, S. A. Budzien, et al.
The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) is a dual-satellite mission consisting of two 6U CubeSats actively maintaining a lead-follow configuration in the same orbit with a launch planned for the 2018-2019 time-frame. These nanosatellites will each feature two 1U size ultraviolet photometers, observing the 135.6 nm emission of atomic oxygen at nighttime. The primary objective is to characterize the two-dimensional distribution of electrons in the orbital plane of the vehicles with special emphasis on studying the morphology of the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA). The methodology used to reconstruct the nighttime ionosphere employs continuous UV photometry from four distinct viewing angles in combination with an additional data source, such as in situ plasma density measurements or a wide-band beacon data, with advanced image space reconstruction algorithm tomography techniques. The COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 (CF3) constellation featured six Tiny Ionospheric Photometers, compact UV sensors which served as the pathfinder for the CIRCE instruments. The TIP instruments on the CF3 satellites demonstrated detection of ionospheric bubbles before they had penetrated the peak of the F-region ionosphere, showed the temporal evolution of the EIA, and observed a Medium Scale Travelling Ionospheric Disturbance. We present our mission concept, some pertinent information regarding the instrument design, the results of simulations illustrating the imaging capability of the sensor suite, and a range of science questions addressable using such a system.
The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE): a dedicated cubesat mission for the study of exoplanetary mass loss and magnetic fields
Brian T. Fleming, Kevin France, Nicholas Nell, et al.
The Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE) is a near-UV (2550 - 3300 Å) 6U cubesat mission designed to monitor transiting hot Jupiters to quantify their atmospheric mass loss and magnetic fields. CUTE will probe both atomic (Mg and Fe) and molecular (OH) lines for evidence of enhanced transit absorption, and to search for evidence of early ingress due to bow shocks ahead of the planet’s orbital motion. As a dedicated mission, CUTE will observe ⪆ 60 spectroscopic transits of hot Jupiters over a nominal seven month mission. This represents the equivalent of > 700 orbits of the only other instrument capable of these measurements, the Hubble Space Telescope. CUTE efficiently utilizes the available cubesat volume by means of an innovative optical design to achieve a projected effective area of ∼ 22 cm2 , low instrumental background, and a spectral resolving power of R ∼ 3000 over the entire science bandpass. These performance characteristics enable CUTE to discern a transit depth of ⪅1% in individual spectral absorption lines. We present the CUTE optical and mechanical design, a summary of the science motivation and expected results, and an overview of the projected fabrication, calibration and launch timeline.
Poster Session
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An improved version of the Shadow Position Sensor readout electronics on-board the ESA PROBA-3 Mission
V. Noce, M. Focardi, S. Buckley, et al.
PROBA-3 [1] [2] is a Mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) composed by two satellites flying in formation and aimed at achieving unprecedented performance in terms of relative positioning. The mission purpose is, in first place, technological: the repeated formation break and acquisition during each orbit (every about twenty hours) will be useful to demonstrate the efficacy of the closed-loop control system in keeping the formation-flying (FF) and attitude (i.e. the alignment with respect to the Sun) of the system. From the scientific side, instead, the two spacecraft will create a giant instrument about 150 m long: an externally occulted coronagraph named ASPIICS (Association of Spacecraft for Polarimetric and Imaging Investigation of the Corona of the Sun) dedicated to the study of the inner part of the visible solar corona. The two satellites composing the mission are: the Coronagraph Spacecraft (CSC), hosting the Coronagraph Instrument (CI), and the disk-shaped (1.4 m diameter) Occulter Spacecraft (OSC). The PROBA-3 GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) system will employ several metrological subsystems to keep and retain the desired relative position and the absolute attitude (i.e. with respect to the Sun) of the aligned spacecraft, when in observational mode. The SPS subsystem [5] is one of these metrological instruments. It is composed of eight silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs), sensors operated in photovoltaic mode [6] that will sense the penumbra light around the Instrument’s pupil so to detect any FF displacement from the nominal position. In proximity of the CDR (Critical Design Review) phase, we describe in the present paper the changes occurred to design in the last year in consequence of the tests performed on the SPS Breadboard (Evaluation Board, EB) and the SPS Development Model (DM) and that will finally lead to the realization of the flight version of the SPS system.
Test plan for the PROBA3/ASPIICS scaled model measurement campaign
PROBA3/ASPIICS (Association of Spacecraft for Polarimetric and Imaging Investigation of the Corona of the Sun) is the first formation flight solar coronagraph, scheduled by ESA for a launch and currently in phase C/D. It is constituted by two spacecraft (one hosting the occulter, diameter 142 cm, and one with the telescope) separated by 144 m, kept in strict alignment by means of complex active and metrology custom systems. The stray light analysis, which is always one the most critical work packages for a solar coronagraph, has been only theoretically investigated so far due to the difficulty of replicating the actual size system in a clean laboratory environment. The light diffracted by the external occulter is the worst offender for the stray light level on the instrument focal plane, thus there is strong interest for scaling at least the occultation system of the coronagraph and test it in front of a solar simulator in order to experimentally validate the expected theoretical performance. The theory for scaling the occulter, the occulter-pupil distance and the source dimension has been developed and a scaled model is being manufactured. A test campaign is going to be conducted at the OPSys facility in Torino in front of a solar simulator (conveniently scaled). This work accounts for the description of the scaled model laboratory set-up and of the test plan.
Transmission measurement of the spare Beryllium window of the SXS onboard the Hitomi satellite in 2.0-12 keV with KEK-PF
The Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) onboard the Hitomi (ASTRO-H) satellite observed several celestial objects. All the observations with the SXS were performed through a beryllium (Be) window installed on the gate-valve of the SXS dewar. However, the Be window had not been well calibrated before launching. Therefore, we measured the transmission of a spare Be window, which is from the same lot as the flight material. The measurements were preformed in 3.8–30 keV range with BL01B1 at SPring-8, and in 2.5–12 keV range combined with BL11B and BL7C at KEK-PF. In this paper, we report mainly the results of the KEK-PF experiment. With the KEK-PF, we measured five places of the Be window. Their estimated thicknesses are consistent with each other within 1.3 μm. In the five transmission data, we confirmed absorption edges by Fe-K, Ni-K and Mn-K and six edge like features at 3460, 6057, 6915, 7590, 8790 and 9193 eV, which can be interpreted as Bragg diffraction by Be polycrystal. By combining the transmissions measured at KEK-PF and at SPring-8, we estimated Be thickness of 259.73±0.01 μm. The amounts of contaminated materials are roughly comparable with the provided values from the provider. We also performed scanning measurements of whole surface in the Be window. In the results, thickness of Be window was found to be uniform in ±1µm from the measurement with 4 keV X-rays.
Semi-automated high-efficiency reflectivity chamber for vacuum UV measurements
James Wiley, Brian Fleming, Nicholas Renninger, et al.
This paper presents the design and theory of operation for a semi-automated reflectivity chamber for ultraviolet optimized optics. A graphical user interface designed in LabVIEW controls the stages, interfaces with the detector system, takes semi-autonomous measurements, and monitors the system in case of error. Samples and an optical photodiode sit on an optics plate mounted to a rotation stage in the middle of the vacuum chamber. The optics plate rotates the samples and diode between an incident and reflected position to measure the absolute reflectivity of the samples at wavelengths limited by the monochromator operational bandpass of 70 nm to 550 nm. A collimating parabolic mirror on a fine steering tip-tilt motor enables beam steering for detector peak-ups. This chamber is designed to take measurements rapidly and with minimal oversight, increasing lab efficiency for high cadence and high accuracy vacuum UV reflectivity measurements.
Developing a detector model for the experiment for x-ray characterization and timing (EXACT) CubeSat
Trevor Knuth, Lindsay Glesener, Jeffrey Chaffin, et al.
The Experiment for X-ray Characterization and Timing (EXACT) mission will be a CubeSat based, hard X-ray spectrometer for measuring high-energy emission from solar flares with high time precision. Solar flares and the related coronal mass ejections affect space weather and the near-Earth environment through emission of solar energetic particles. Hard X-rays (HXRs) are emitted from flare-accelerated electrons, which are energized at or near the time of energy release, and therefore serve to probe the timing of energy release and particle acceleration. EXACT will study the hard X-rays generated by the Sun in the declining phase of Solar Cycle 24 in order to probe electron acceleration in flares and solar eruptive events while also serving as a precursor to future hard X-ray spectrometers that could monitor the Sun continuously. EXACT’s secondary mission is to demonstrate a spacecraft ranging technique based on timing of astrophysical X-ray and gamma ray bursts. EXACT will be a 3U (10x10x30 cm3 ) CubeSat. This paper will discuss the scintillator detector under development for the mission, including the modeling of the detector response function, as well as expected observations of solar flares by EXACT.
The third flight of the Colorado high-resolution echelle stellar spectrograph (CHESS): improvements, calibrations, and preliminary results
Nicholas Kruczek, Nicholas Nell, Kevin France, et al.
In this proceeding, we describe the scientific motivation and technical development of the Colorado HighResolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS), focusing on the hardware advancements and testing of components for the third launch of the payload (CHESS-3). CHESS is a far ultraviolet rocket-borne instrument designed to study the atomic-to-molecular transitions within translucent cloud regions in the interstellar medium. CHESS is an objective echelle spectrograph, which uses a mechanically-ruled echelle and a powered (f/12.4) crossdispersing grating, and is designed to achieve a resolving power R > 100,000 over the bandpass λλ 1000−1600 Å. Results from final efficiency and reflectivity measurements for the optical components of CHESS-3 are presented. An important role of sounding rocket experiments is the testing and verification of the space flight capabilities of experimental technologies. CHESS-3 utilizes a 40mm-diameter cross-strip anode microchannel plate detector fabricated by Sensor Sciences LLC, capable of achieving high spatial resolution and a high global count rate (∼1 MHz). We present pre-flight laboratory spectra and calibration results, including wavelength solution and resolving power of the instrument. The fourth launch of CHESS (CHESS-4) will demonstrate a δ-doped CCD, assembled in collaboration with the Microdevices Laboratory at JPL and Arizona State University. In support of CHESS-4, the CHESS-3 payload included a photomultiplier tube, used as a secondary confirmation of the optical alignment of the payload during flight. CHESS-3 launched on 26 June 2017 aboard NASA/CU sounding rocket mission 36.323 UG. We present initial flight results for the CHESS-3 observation of the β1 Scorpii sightline.
On-ground characterization of the IXPE polarization angle knowledge
The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) has been recently selected for development as part of NASA's Small Explorer program (SMEX), with a launch date in 2021. Developed in a collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), IXPE will perform groundbreaking measurements of imaging polarization in X-rays for a number of different classes of sources including isolated and accreting neutron stars, pulsar wind nebulae, stellar and supermassive black holes. Combining 30 arcsec (HPD) grazing-incidence X-ray optics with the polarization-sensitive Gas Pixel Detectors (GPDs), IXPE will provide two-orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity over the past flown instruments. The IXPE requested precision on the measurement of the polarization angle (better than 0.2 degrees at instrument level) poses strict constraints on the detector unit (DU) mechanical design and requires the implementation of a specific alignment and measurement strategy to meet the scientific requirements. In this paper we describe the design solutions that will be implemented in the DU flight models as well as a step-by-step metrology procedure that will ensure the fulfillment of the scientific requirement.
The Marshall Grazing Incidence X-ray Spectrometer
Ken Kobayashi, Amy R. Winebarger, Sabrina Savage, et al.
The Marshall Grazing Incidence X-ray Spectrometer (MaGIXS) is a NASA sounding rocket instrument designed to obtain spatially resolved soft X-ray spectra of the solar atmosphere in the 6–24 Å (0.5–2.0 keV) range. The instrument consists of a single shell Wolter Type-I telescope, a slit, and a spectrometer comprising a matched pair of grazing incidence parabolic mirrors and a planar varied-line space diffraction grating. The instrument is designed to achieve a 50 mÅ spectral resolution and 5 arcsecond spatial resolution along a ±4-arcminute long slit, and launch is planned for 2019. We report on the status and our approaches for fabrication and alignment for this novel optical system. The telescope and spectrometer mirrors are replicated nickel shells, and are currently being fabricated at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The diffraction grating is currently under development by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); because of the strong line spacing variation across the grating, it will be fabricated through e-beam lithography.
ART-XC/SRG: joint calibration of mirror modules and x-ray detectors
The Astronomical Roentgen Telescope – X-ray Concentrator (ART-XC) is a hard x-ray instrument with energy response 6–30 keV that will to be launched on board of the Spectrum Roentgen Gamma (SRG) Mission. ART-XC consists of seven co-aligned mirror modules coupled with seven focal plane CdTe double-sided strip detectors. The mirror modules had been fabricated and calibrated at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The Russian Space Research Institute (IKI) has developed and tested the X-ray detectors. The joint x-ray calibration of the mirror modules and focal plane detectors was carried out at the IKI test facility. Details of the calibration procedure and an overview of the results are presented here.
Characterization of the UV detector of Solar Orbiter/Metis
Metis, one of the instruments of the ESA mission Solar Orbiter (to be launched in February 2019), is a coronograph able to perform broadband polarization imaging in the visible range (580-640 nm), and narrow band imaging in UV (HI Lyman-α 121.6 nm) . The detector of the UV channel is an intensified camera, based on a Star-1000 rad-hard CMOS APS coupled via a 2:1 fiber optic taper to a single stage Microchannel Plate intensifier, sealed with an entrance MgF2 window and provided with an opaque KBr photocathode. Before integration in the instrument, the UVDA (UV Detector Assembly) Flight Model has been characterized at the MPS laboratory and calibrated in the UV range using the detector calibration beamline of the Metrology Light Source synchrotron of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). Linearity, spectral calibration, and response uniformity at 121.6 nm have been measured. Preliminary results are reported in this paper.