25 July 2016 Performance of NICER flight x-ray concentrator
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Abstract
Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) is a NASA instrument to be onboard International Space Station, which is equipped with 56 pairs of an X-ray concentrator (XRC) and a silicon drift detector for high timing observations. The XRC is based on an epoxy replicated thin aluminum foil X-ray mirror, similar to those of Suzaku and ASTRO-H (Hitomi), but only a single stage parabolic grazing incidence optic. Each has a focal length of 1.085m and a diameter of 105 mm, with 24 confocally aligned parabolic shells. Grazing incident angles to individual shells range from 0.4 to 1.4 deg. The flight 56 XRCs have been completed and successfully delivered to the payload integration. All the XRC was characterized at the NASA/GSFC 100-m X-ray beamline using 1.5 keV X-rays (some of them are also at 4.5 keV). The XRC performance, effective area and point spread function, was measured by a CCD camera and a proportional counter. The average effective area is about 44 cm2 at 1.5 keV and about 18 cm2 at 4.5 keV, which is consistent with a micro-roughness of 0.5nm from individual shell reflectivity measurements. The XRC focuses about 91% of X-rays into a 2mm aperture at the focal plane, which is the NICER detector window size. Each XRC weighs only 325 g. These performance met the project requirement. In this paper, we will present summary of the flight XRC performance as well as co-alignment results of the 56 XRCs on the flight payload as it is important to estimate the total effective for astronomical observations.
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Takashi Okajima, Takashi Okajima, Yang Soong, Yang Soong, Erin R. Balsamo, Erin R. Balsamo, Teruaki Enoto, Teruaki Enoto, Larry Olsen, Larry Olsen, Richard Koenecke, Richard Koenecke, Larry Lozipone, Larry Lozipone, John Kearney, John Kearney, Sean Fitzsimmons, Sean Fitzsimmons, Ai Numata, Ai Numata, Steven J. Kenyon, Steven J. Kenyon, Zaven Arzoumanian, Zaven Arzoumanian, Keith Gendreau, Keith Gendreau, } "Performance of NICER flight x-ray concentrator", Proc. SPIE 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99054X (25 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2234436; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2234436
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