19 July 2016 Ground calibration of the Silicon Drift Detectors for NICER
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Abstract
The Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) is set to be deployed on the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2017. It will use an array of 56 Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs) to detect soft X-rays (0.2 - 12 keV) with 100 nanosecond timing resolution. Here we describe the effort to calibrate the detectors in the lab primarily using a Modulated X-ray Source (MXS).

The MXS that was customized for NICER provides more than a dozen emission lines spread over the instrument bandwidth, providing calibration measurements for detector gain and spectral resolution. In addition, the fluorescence source in the MXS was pulsed at high frequency to enable measurement of the delay due to charge collection in the silicon and signal processing in the detector electronics. A second chamber, designed to illuminate detectors with either 55Fe, an optical LED, or neither, provided additional calibration of detector response, optical blocking, and effectiveness of background rejection techniques. The overall ground calibration achieved total operating time that was generally in the range of 500-1500 hours for each of the 56 detectors.
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Beverly LaMarr, Gregory Prigozhin, Ronald Remillard, Andrew Malonis, Keith C. Gendreau, Zaven Arzoumanian, Craig B. Markwardt, Wayne H. Baumgartner, "Ground calibration of the Silicon Drift Detectors for NICER", Proc. SPIE 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99054W (19 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232784; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232784
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