We are planning a future gamma-ray burst (GRB) mission HiZ-GUNDAM to probe the early universe beyond the redshift of z > 7. Now we are developing a small prototype model of wide-field low-energy X-ray imaging detectors to observe high-z GRBs, which cover the energy range of 1 – 20 keV. In this paper, we report overview of its prototype system and performance, especially focusing on the characteristics and radiation tolerance of high gain analog ASIC specifically designed to read out small charge signals.
WF-MAXI is a mission to detect and localize X-ray transients with short-term variability as gravitational-wave (GW) candidates including gamma-ray bursts, supernovae etc. We are planning on starting observations by WF-MAXI to be ready for the initial operation of the next generation GW telescopes (e.g., KAGRA, Advanced LIGO etc.). WF-MAXI consists of two main instruments, Soft X-ray Large Solid Angle Camera (SLC) and Hard X-ray Monitor (HXM) which totally cover 0.7 keV to 1 MeV band. HXM is a multi-channel array of crystal scintillators coupled with APDs observing photons in the hard X-ray band with an effective area of above 100 cm2. We have developed an analog application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) dedicated for the readout of 32-channel APDs' signals using 0.35 μm CMOS technology based on Open IP project and an analog amplifier was designed to achieve a low-noise readout. The developed ASIC showed a low-noise performance of 2080 e- + 2.3 e-/pF at root mean square and with a reverse-type APD coupled to a Ce:GAGG crystal a good FWHM energy resolution of 6.9% for 662 keV -rays.
WF-MAXI is a soft X-ray transient monitor proposed for the ISS/JEM. Unlike MAXI, it will always cover a large field of view (20 % of the entire sky) to detect short transients more efficiently. In addition to the various transient sources seen by MAXI, we hope to localize X-ray counterparts of gravitational wave events, expected to be directly detected by Advanced-LIGO, Virgo and KAGRA in late 2010's. The main instrument, the Soft X-ray Large Solid Angle Cameras (SLC) is sensitive in the 0.7-12 keV band with a localization accuracy of ~ 0:1°. The Hard X-ray Monitor (HXM) covers the same sky field in the 20 keV-1 MeV band.
Wide-Field MAXI (WF-MAXI) planned to be installed in Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” Exposed Facility of the international space station (ISS). WF-MAXI consists of two types of cameras, Soft X-ray Large Solid Angle Camera (SLC) and Hard X-ray Monitor (HXM). HXM is multi-channel arrays of CsI scintillators coupled with avalanche photodiodes (APDs) which covers the energy range of 20 - 200 keV. SLC is arrays of CCD, which is evolved version of MAXI/SSC. Instead of slit and collimator in SSC, SLC is equipped with coded mask allowing its field of view to 20% of all sky at any given time, and its location determination accuracy to few arcminutes. In older to achieve larger effective area, the number of CCD chip and the size of each chip will be larger than that of SSC. We are planning to use 59 x 31 mm2 CCD chip provided by Hamamatsu Photonics. Each camera will be quipped with 16 CCDs and total of 4 cameras will be installed in WF-MAXI. Since SLC utilize X-ray CCDs it must equip active cooling system for CCDs. Instead of using the peltier cooler, we use mechanical coolers that are also employed in Astro-H. In this way we can cool the CCDs down to -100C. ISS orbit around the earth in 90 minutes; therefore a point source moves 4 arcminutes per second. In order to achieve location determination accuracy, we need fast readout from CCD. The pulse heights are stacked into a single row along the vertical direction. Charge is transferred continuously, thus the spatial information along the vertical direction is lost and replaced with the precise arrival time information. Currently we are making experimental model of the camera body including the CCD and electronics for the CCDs. In this paper, we show the development status of SLC.
To measure the polarization of gamma-ray bursts in X-ray energy band, we have developed a 50 kg micro-satellite named "SUBAME". The satellite has a compact and high-sensitive hard X-ray polarimeter employing newly-developed shock resistant multi-anode photomultipliers and Si avalanche photodiodes. Thanks to the ultra low-noise detectors and signal processors, the polarimeter can cover a wide energy range of 30200 keV even at 25°C with a high modulation factor of 62 %. TSUBAME is in the phase of final functional tests waiting for shipping to Baikonur and will be launched into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km in late 2014. In this paper, the pre-ight performance of the gamma-ray detector system and the satellite bus system are presented.
The Polarized Gamma-ray Observer (PoGO) is a new balloon-borne instrument designed to measure polarization from astrophysical objects in the 30-200 keV range. It is under development for the first flight anticipated in 2008. PoGO is designed to minimize the background by an improved phoswich configuration, which enables a detection of 10 % polarization in a 100 mCrab source in a 6--8 hour observation. To achieve such high sensitivity, low energy response of the detector is important because the source count rate is generally dominated by the lowest energy photons. We have developed new PMT assemblies specifically designed for PoGO to read-out weak scintillation light of one photoelectron (1 p.e.) level. A beam test of a prototype detector array was conducted at the KEK Photon Factory, Tsukuba in Japan. The experimental data confirm that PoGO can detect polarization of 80-85 % polarized beam down to 30 keV with a modulation factor 0.25 ± 0.05.