XMM-Newton was launched into space on a highly eccentric 48 hour orbit on December 10th 1999. XMM-Newton is now in its fifth year of operation and has been an outstanding success, observing the Cosmos with imaging, spectroscopy and timing capabilities in the X-ray and optical wavebands. The EPIC-MOS CCD X-ray detectors comprise two out of three of the focal plane instruments on XMM-Newton. In this paper we discuss key aspects of the current status and performance history of the charge transfer ineffiency (CTI), energy resolution and spectral redistribution function (rmf) of EPIC-MOS in its fifth year of operation.
The next generation of X-ray astronomy instruments will require position sensitive detectors in the form of charge coupled devices (CCDs) for X-ray spectroscopy and imaging that will have the ability to probe the X-ray universe with a greater efficiency. This will require the development of CCDs with structures that will improve on the quantum efficiency of the current state of the art over a broader spectral range in addition to reducing spectral features, which may affect spectral resolution and signal to background levels. These devices will also have to be designed to withstand the harsh radiation environments associated with orbits that extend beyond the Earth’s magnetosphere. The next generation X-ray telescopes will incorporate larger X-ray optics that will allow deeper observations of the X-ray universe and sensors will have to compensate for this by an increased readout speed. This study will aim to describe some of the results obtained from test CCD structures that may fit many of the requirements described above.
The Swift Gamma-Ray Explorer is designed to make prompt multiwavelength observations of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) and GRB Afterglows. The X-ray Telescope (XRT) provides key capabilities that permit Swift to determine GRB positions with a few arcseconds accuracy within 100 seconds of the burst onset. The XRT utilizes a superb mirror set built for JET-X and a state-of-the-art XMM/EPIC MOS CCD detector to provide a sensitive broad-band (0.2-10 keV) X-ray imager with effective area of 135 cm2 at 1.5 keV, field of view of 23.6 x 23.6 arcminutes, and angular resolution of 18 arcseconds (HEW). The detection sensitivity is 2x10-14 erg/cm2/s in 104 seconds. The instrument is designed to provide automated source detection and position reporting within 5 seconds of target acquisition. It can also measure redshifts of GRBs for bursts with Fe line emission or other spectral features. The XRT will operate in an auto-exposure mode, adjusting the CCD readout mode automatically to optimize the science return for each frame as the source fades. The XRT will measure spectra and lightcurves of the GRB afterglow beginning about a minute after the burst and will follow each burst for days as it fades from view.
The Swift X-ray Telescope is a powerful instrument for measuring the X-ray spectral properties of GRB afterglows. The spectroscopic capabilities are obtained through the energy resolving properties of the X-ray CCD imager in the focal plane of the X-ray Telescope. A range of CCD operating modes allow GRB afterglows to be followed over 5 orders of brightness as the afterglow decays. The spectroscopic response in each mode has been determined as part of the XRT calibration program and is being incorporated into the XRT instrument response matrices. These responses are being used to simulate GRB spectra as part of the pre-launch mission planning for Swift.
The Swift X-ray Telescope (XRT) is designed to make astrometric, spectroscopic and photometric observations of the X-ray emission from Gamma-ray bursts and their afterglows, in the energy band 0.2 - 10 keV. Here we report first results of the analysis of Swift XRT effective area at five different energies as measured during the end-to-end calibration campaign at the Panter X-ray beam line facility. The analysis comprises the study of the effective area both on-axis and off-axis for different event grade selection. We compare the laboratory results with the expectations and show that the measured effective area meets the mission scientific requirements.
The SWIFT X-ray Telescope (XRT) is designed to make astrometric, spectroscopic and photometric observations of the X-ray emission from Gamma-ray bursts and their afterglows, in the energy band 0.2 - 10 keV. Here we report the results of the analysis of SWIFT XRT Point Spread Function (PSF) as measured during the end-to-end calibration campaign at the Panter X-Ray beam line facility. The analysis comprises the study of the PSF both on-axis and off-axis. We compare the laboratory results with the expectations from the ray-tracing software and from the mirror module tested as a single unit. We show that the measured HEW meets the mission scientific requirements. On the basis of the calibration data we build an analytical model which is able to reproduce the PSF as a function of the energy and the position within the detector.