The Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission is the sixth Japanese x-ray astronomy satellite developed by a large international collaboration, including Japan, USA, Canada, and Europe. The mission aimed to provide the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 2 keV, using a microcalorimeter instrument, and to cover a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft x-rays to gamma rays. After a successful launch on February 17, 2016, the spacecraft lost its function on March 26, 2016, but the commissioning phase for about a month provided valuable information on the onboard instruments and the spacecraft system, including astrophysical results obtained from first light observations. The paper describes the Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission, its capabilities, the initial operation, and the instruments/spacecraft performances confirmed during the commissioning operations for about a month.
The Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is an imaging spectrometer using charge-coupled devices (CCDs) aboard the Hitomi x-ray observatory. The SXI sensor has four CCDs with an imaging area size of 31 mm×31 mm arranged in a 2×2 array. Combined with the x-ray mirror, the Soft X-ray Telescope, the SXI detects x-rays between 0.4 and 12 keV and covers a 38′×38′ field of view. The CCDs are P-channel fully depleted, back-illumination type with a depletion layer thickness of 200 μm. Low operation temperature down to −120°C as well as charge injection is employed to reduce the charge transfer inefficiency (CTI) of the CCDs. The functionality and performance of the SXI are verified in on-ground tests. The energy resolution measured is 161 to 170 eV in full width at half maximum for 5.9-keV x-rays. In the tests, we found that the CTI of some regions is significantly higher. A method is developed to properly treat the position-dependent CTI. Another problem we found is pinholes in the Al coating on the incident surface of the CCDs for optical light blocking. The Al thickness of the contamination blocking filter is increased to sufficiently block optical light.
The Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission is the sixth Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite developed by a large international collaboration, including Japan, USA, Canada, and Europe. The mission aimed to provide the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 2 keV, using a microcalorimeter instrument, and to cover a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. After a successful launch on 2016 February 17, the spacecraft lost its function on 2016 March 26, but the commissioning phase for about a month provided valuable information on the on-board instruments and the spacecraft system, including astrophysical results obtained from first light observations. The paper describes the Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission, its capabilities, the initial operation, and the instruments/spacecraft performances confirmed during the commissioning operations for about a month.
We report here the performance of the SXI on ASTRO-H that was started its operation from March,02 2016. The SXI consists of 4 CCDs that cover 38' X 38' sky region. They are P-channel back-illumination type CCD with a depletion layer of 200 μm. Charge injection (CI) method is applied from its beginning of the mission. Two single stage sterling coolers are equipped with the SXI while one of them has enough power to cool the CCD to -110°C. There are two issues in the SXI performance: one is a light-leak and the other is a cosmic-ray echo. The light-leak is due to the fact that the day-Earth irradiates visible lights onto the SXI body through holes in the satellite base plate. It can be avoided by selecting targets not on the anti-day-Earth direction. The cosmic-ray echo is due to the improper parameter values that is fixed by revising them with which the cosmic-ray echo does not affect the image. Using the results of RXJ1856.5-3754, we confirm that the possible contaminants on the CCD is well within our expectation.
The Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is an X-ray CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H X-ray observatory. The CCD chip used is a P-channel back-illuminated type, and has a 200-µm thick depletion layer, with which the SXI covers the energy range between 0.4 keV and 12 keV. Its imaging area has a size of 31 mm x 31 mm. We arrange four of the CCD chips in a 2 by 2 grid so that we can cover a large field-of-view of 38’ x 38’. We cool the CCDs to -120 °C with a single-stage Stirling cooler. As was done for the CCD camera of the Suzaku satellite, XIS, artificial charges are injected to selected rows in order to recover charge transfer inefficiency due to radiation damage caused by in-orbit cosmic rays. We completed fabrication of flight models of the SXI and installed them into the satellite. We verified the performance of the SXI in a series of satellite tests. On-ground calibrations were also carried out and detailed studies are ongoing.
X-ray CCD operated onboard satellite are contaminated by outgas from organic material used in satellites. This contamination causes a significant reduction in the detection sensitivity of X-ray detectors.
In order to prevent such contamination to the Back-Illuminated CCD (BI-CCD) of the Soft X-ray Imager
(SXI) onboard ASTRO-H, we have developed a Contamination Blocking Filter (CBF), which consists of ~30nm thick Aluminum and ~200nm thick Polyimide. The CBF is be placed on the top of the CCD camera hood and is required to have a high X-ray transmission in order to take advantage of the high detection efficiency of BI-CCD.
We measured the X-ray transmission of three flight candidates of the CBF last October at the SPring-8 and obtained the X-ray transmission of three CBFs in the soft X-ray energy from 0.2 to 1.8 keV which covers the absorption edges around C-K, N-K, O-K, and Al-K including X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS). In these measurements, we found three CBFs have high X-ray transmission below 2ke V, e.g. ~70% at around 0.5 keV, and determined the thickness of Al and Polyimide to be 220 nm and ~50 nm, respectively. We will calculate the response function of SXI including these results.
Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is a CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H satellite which is scheduled to be launched in 2015. The SXI camera contains four CCD chips, each with an imaging area of 31mm x 31 mm, arrayed in mosaic, covering the whole FOV area of 38′ x 38′. The CCDs are a P-channel back-illuminated (BI) type with a depletion layer thickness of 200 _m. High QE of 77% at 10 keV expected for this device is an advantage to cover an overlapping energy band with the Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) onboard ASTRO-H. Most of the flight components of the SXI system are completed until the end of 2013 and assembled, and an end-to-end test is performed. Basic performance is verified to meet the requirements. Similar performance is confirmed in the first integration test of the satellite performed in March to June 2014, in which the energy resolution at 5.9 keV of 160 eV is obtained. In parallel to these activities, calibrations using engineering model CCDs are performed, including QE, transmission of a filter, linearity, and response profiles.
A formation flight astronomical survey telescope (FFAST) is a new project that will cover a large sky area in hard X-ray. In particular, it will focus on the energy range up to 80keV. It consists of two small satellites that will go in a formation flight. One is an X-ray telescope satellite carrying a super mirror, and the other is a detector satellite carrying an SDCCD. Two satellites are put into a low earth orbit in keeping the separation of 12m. This will survey a large sky area at hard X-ray region to study the evolution of the universe.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), with a planned launch in 2015. The ASTRO-H mission is equipped with a suite of sensitive instruments with the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 3 keV and a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. The simultaneous broad band pass, coupled with the high spectral resolution of ΔE ≤ 7 eV of the micro-calorimeter, will enable a wide variety of important science themes to be pursued. ASTRO-H is expected to provide breakthrough results in scientific areas as diverse as the large-scale structure of the Universe and its evolution, the behavior of matter in the gravitational strong field regime, the physical conditions in sites of cosmic-ray acceleration, and the distribution of dark matter in galaxy clusters at different redshifts.
We report on the development status of the readout ASIC for an onboard X-ray CCD camera. The quick low- noise readout is essential for the pile-up free imaging spectroscopy with the future highly sensitive telescope. The dedicated ASIC for ASTRO-H/SXI has sufficient noise performance only at the slow pixel rate of 68 kHz. Then we have been developing the upgraded ASIC with the fourth-order ΔΣ modulators. Upgrading the order of the modulator enables us to oversample the CCD signals less times so that we. The digitized pulse height is a serial bit stream that is decrypted with a decimation filter. The weighting coefficient of the filter is optimized to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio by a simulation. We present the performances such as the input equivalent noise (IEN), gain, effective signal range. The digitized pulse height data are successfully obtained in the first functional test up to 625 kHz. IEN is almost the same as that obtained with the chip for ASTRO-H/SXI. The residuals from the gain function is about 0.1%, which is better than that of the conventional ASIC by a factor of two. Assuming that the gain of the CCD is the same as that for ASTRO-H, the effective range is 30 keV in the case of the maximum gain. By changing the gain it can manage the signal charges of 100 ke-. These results will be fed back to the optimization of the pulse height decrypting filter.
FFAST is a large area sky survey mission at hard X-ray region by using a spacecraft formation flying. It consists of two small satellites, a telescope satellite, carrying a multilayer super mirror, and a detector satellite, carrying scintillator-deposited CCDs (SD-CCDs). SD-CCD is the imaging device which realized sensitivity to 80 keV by pasting up a scintillator on CCD directly. Soft X-ray events are directly detected in the CCD. On the other hand, Hard X-ray events are converted to optical photons by the scintillator and then the CCD detects the photons. We have obtained the spectrum with <sup>109</sup>Cd and successfully detected the events originated from the CsI.
For a space use of a CCD, we have to understand aged deterioration of CCD in high radiative environments. In addition, in the case of SD-CCD, we must investigate the influence of radio-activation of a scintillator. We performed experiments of proton irradiation to the SD-CCD as space environmental tests of cosmic rays.
The SD-CCD is irradiated with the protons with the energy of 100 MeV and neglected for about 150 hours. As a result, the derived CTI profile of SD-CCD is similarly to ones of XIS/Suzaku and NeXT4 CCD/ASTRO-H. In contrast, CTIs derived from the data within 4 hours after irradiation is 10 times or more larger than the ones after 150 hours. This may be due to influence of an annealing. We also report a performance study of SD-CCD, including the detection of scintillation events, before proton irradiation.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions initiated
by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). ASTRO-H will investigate the physics of the highenergy
universe via a suite of four instruments, covering a very wide energy range, from 0.3 keV to 600 keV.
These instruments include a high-resolution, high-throughput spectrometer sensitive over 0.3–12 keV with
high spectral resolution of ΔE ≦ 7 eV, enabled by a micro-calorimeter array located in the focal plane of
thin-foil X-ray optics; hard X-ray imaging spectrometers covering 5–80 keV, located in the focal plane of
multilayer-coated, focusing hard X-ray mirrors; a wide-field imaging spectrometer sensitive over 0.4–12 keV,
with an X-ray CCD camera in the focal plane of a soft X-ray telescope; and a non-focusing Compton-camera
type soft gamma-ray detector, sensitive in the 40–600 keV band. The simultaneous broad bandpass, coupled
with high spectral resolution, will enable the pursuit of a wide variety of important science themes.
Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is a CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H satellite which is scheduled to be launched
in 2014. The SXI camera contains four CCD chips, each with an imaging area of 31mm×
31 mm, arrayed in
mosaic, which cover the whole FOV area of 38' ×
38'. The SXI CCDs are a P-channel back-illuminated (BI) type
with a depletion layer thickness of 200 μm. High QE of 77% at 10 keV expected for this device is an advantage
to cover an overlapping energy band with the Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) onboard ASTRO-H. Verification with
engineering model of the SXI has been performed since 2011. Flight model design was fixed and its fabrication
has started in 2012.