The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) is an imaging microcalorimeter being developed for ESA's Athena X-ray observatory to providing high spectral resolution imaging between 0.2-12 keV, with moderate count-rate capability and a large field-of-view. The X-IFU focal plane assembly (FPA) will contain the instrument's large-format transition edge sensor (TES) microcalorimeter array and its superconducting readout electronics, plus a second TES detector, located behind the main sensor array, is used to detect high-energy cosmic rays and secondary particles passing through the sensor array and enable the rejection of false events that they generate in the sensor array's event list. A Kevlar thermal suspension is used to isolate the detectors at 55 mK from the 2 K environment of the X-IFU instrument cryostat's cold stage, while three layers of shielding are used to allow the detector's to achieve their low-noise performance in the expected on-ground and in-flight electromagnetic and microvibration environment. This paper will describe the preliminary design concept of the X-IFU focal plane assembly and its critical technology building blocks.
Brian D. Jackson, Roland den Hartog, Jan van der Kuur, Henk van Weers, Hiroki Akamatsu, Andrea Argan, Simon R. Bandler, Marco Barbera, Didier Barret, Marcel P. Bruijn, James A. Chervenak, Johannes Dercksen, Flavio Gatti, Herve Geoffray, Luciano Gottardi, Jan-Willem den Herder, Ruud Hoogeveen, Caroline A. Kilbourne, Mikko Kiviranta, Bert-Joost van Leeuwen, Dennis van Loon, Claudio Macculi, Jean-Michel Mesnager, Phillipe Peille, Luigi Piro, Stephen J. Smith, and Francoise Douchin, "The focal plane assembly for the ATHENA x-ray integral field unit instrument (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10699, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 106991O (Presented at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation: June 13, 2018; Published: 10 July 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2313980.5807165608001.
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