The Hot Universe Baryon Surveyor (HUBS) mission is proposed to study “missing” baryons in the universe. Unlike dark matter, baryonic matter is made of elements in the periodic table, and can be directly observed through the electromagnetic signals that it produces. Stars contain only a tiny fraction of the baryonic matter known to be present in the universe. Additional baryons are found to be in diffuse (gaseous) form, in or between galaxies, but a significant fraction has not yet been seen. The latter (“missing” baryons) are thought to be hiding in low-density warm-hot ionized medium (WHIM), based on results from theoretical studies and recent observations, and be distributed in the vicinity of galaxies (i.e., circumgalactic medium) and between galaxies (i.e., intergalactic medium). Such gas would radiate mainly in the soft X-ray band and the emission would be very weak, due to its very low density. HUBS is optimized to detect the X-ray emission from the hot baryons in the circumgalactic medium, and thus fill a void in observational astronomy. The goal is not only to detect the “missing” baryons, but to characterize their physical and chemical properties, as well as to measure their spatial distribution. The results would establish the boundary conditions for understanding galaxy evolution. Though highly challenging, detecting “missing” baryons in the intergalactic medium could be attempted, perhaps in the outskirts of galaxy clusters, and could shed significant light on the large-scale structures of the universe. The current design of HUBS will be presented, along with the status of technology development.
Hot Universe Baryon Surveyor (HUBS)1 is being conceptualized in China as a high throughput and highresolution spectroscopic X-ray mission dedicated to studying cosmic “missing” baryons, which are thought to exist in the gas of very low density and temperature of roughly one million degrees in the halo of galaxies or in large-scale structures. To detect weak emission from the “missing” baryons, HUBS will employ an X-ray microcalorimeter based on transition-edge sensors (TES) array that operates at very low temperatures. The key characteristics of the detector technology are excellent energy resolution and high quantum efficiency, which makes it an ideal choice for constructing a non-dispersive X-ray imaging spectrometer. We are developing X-ray microcalorimeters for HUBS, based on superconducting Mo/Cu bilayer films. In this work, we present results on characterization of the Mo/Cu films and TES devices at temperatures below 200 mK, including their I − V characteristics, pulse signals and energy resolutions. We have also studied correlations between the superconductivity and other properties of the films (including residual resistivity ratio, stress, crystalline structure, interface properties, etc.). Preliminary results are presented in this work.
Hot Universe Baryon Surveyor (HUBS), a Chinese space mission, is proposed to find a large fraction of the so-called missing baryons, which would help us to understand more about the structure formation and evolution of the universe. Both theoretical and experimental results show that developing a highly efficient soft X-ray spectrometer over a large field of view and with a high energy resolution is the key to detect the “missing baryons”. X-ray microcalorimeters based on a transition-edge sensor (TES) array is required for HUBS, which aims to have 1 deg2 field of view (FoV) with 1’ angular resolution and 2 eV energy resolution optimized around 0.6 keV. Taking the high throughput X-ray optical focusing system on HUBS into account, the TES array is designed to have 60 x 60 pixels with an area of 1 mm2 for each pixel. The microcalorimeter consists of a TES, a weak thermal link to a heat bath, and a semi-metal or normal metal absorber to increase the X-ray absorption efficiency. When an X-ray photon with a given energy is absorbed, the temperature of the absorber increase, that can be monitored by measuring the resistance change of the TES. A bilayer of a superconductor and a normal metal is used to fabricate a TES with a critical temperature (Tc) of ~100 mK. The latter is set for the required energy resolution. For HUBS, both MoCu and TiAu TES technologies are considered in its development phase. Here we will focus on TiAu TES calorimeters designed and partially fabricated at SRON for HUBS. Recent demonstration of a resolution of 2.5 eV at 5.9 keV in an AC readout at SRON for X-IFU on board of Athena illustrates the promising of this technology. However, the challenging for the HUBS array is the large pixel size. We will report the design and fabrication of prototype HUBS calorimeters.