The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) is one of the two instruments of the Athena astrophysics space mission approved by ESA in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Science Programme. The X-IFU consists of a large array of transition edge sensor micro-calorimeters that will operate at ~100 mK inside a sophisticated cryostat. A set of thin filters, highly transparent to X-rays, will be mounted on the opening windows of the cryostat thermal shields in order to attenuate the IR radiative load, to attenuate radio frequency electromagnetic interferences, and to protect the detector from contamination. Thermal filters are critical items in the proper operation of the X-IFU detector in space. They need to be strong enough to survive the launch stresses but very thin to be highly transparent to X-rays. They essentially define the detector quantum efficiency at low energies and are fundamental to make the photon shot noise a negligible contribution to the energy resolution budget. In this paper, we review the main results of modeling and characterization tests of the thermal filters performed during the phase A study to identify the suitable materials, optimize the design, and demonstrate that the chosen technology can reach the proper readiness before mission adoption.
Marco Barbera, Ugo Lo Cicero, Luisa Sciortino, Fabio D'Anca, Giuseppe Lo Cicero, Giancarlo Parodi, Salvatore Sciortino, Gregor Rauw, Graziella Branduardi-Raymont, Salvatore Varisco, Salvatore Ferruggia Bonura, Alfonso Collura, Roberto Candia, Gaspare Di Cicca, Paolo Giglio, Antonino Buttacavoli, Francesco Cuttaia, Fabrizio Villa, Massimo Cappi, Thien Lam Trong, Jean-Michel Mesnager, Philippe Peille, Roland den Hartog, Jan Willem den Herder, Brian Jackson, Didier Barret, and Luigi Piro, "ATHENA X-IFU thermal filters development status toward the end of the instrument phase-A," Proc. SPIE 10699, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 106991R (Presented at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation: June 14, 2018; Published: 6 July 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2314450.
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