13 December 2000 Progress in the development of Mo/Au transition-edge sensors for x-ray spectroscopy
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X-ray microcalorimeters using transition-edge sensors (TES) show great promise for use in astronomical x-ray spectroscopy. We have obtained very high energy resolution (2.8 eV at 1.5 keV and 3.7 eV at 3.3 keV) in a large, isolated TES pixel using a Mo/Au proximity-effect bilayer on a silicon nitride membrane. We will discuss the performance and our characterization of that device. In order to be truly suitable for use behind an x-ray telescope, however, such devices need to be arrayed with a pixel size and focal-plane coverage commensurate with the telescope focal length and spatial resolution. Since this requires fitting the TES and its thermal link, a critical component of each calorimeter pixel, into a far more compact geometry than has previously been investigated, we must study the fundamental scaling laws in pixel optimization. We have designed a photolithography mask that will allow us to probe the range in thermal conductance that can be obtained by perforating the nitride membrane in a narrow perimeter around the sensor. This mask will also show the effects of reducing the TES area. Though we have not yet tested devices of the compact designs, we will present our progress in several of the key processing steps and discuss the parameter space of our intended investigations.
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Caroline Kilbourn Stahle, Caroline Kilbourn Stahle, Regis P. Brekosky, Regis P. Brekosky, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Fred M. Finkbeiner, Fred M. Finkbeiner, John D. Gygax, John D. Gygax, Mary J. Li, Mary J. Li, Mark A. Lindeman, Mark A. Lindeman, Frederick Scott Porter, Frederick Scott Porter, Nilesh Tralshawala, Nilesh Tralshawala, "Progress in the development of Mo/Au transition-edge sensors for x-ray spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 4140, X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Instrumentation for Astronomy XI, (13 December 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.409131; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.409131

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