We report progress in the design of the BepiColombo Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS). This instrument
consists of two modules; a Wolter I soft X-ray telescope based on radially packed microchannel plate
optics (MIXS-T) and a profiled collimator which uses a square pore square packed microchannel plate array to
restrict its field of view (MIXS-C). Both instrument modules have identical focal planes (DEPFET macropixel
array) providing an energy resolution of better than 200 eV FWHM throughout the mission.
The primary science goal of MIXS is to perform X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy of the Hermean surface with
unprecedented spatial and energy resolution. This allows discrimination between different regolith types, and
by combining with data from other instruments, between competing models of crustal evolution and planetary
formation. MIXS will also probe the complex coupling between the planet's surface, exosphere and magnetosphere
by observing Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE).
We report progress in the design, theoretical modeling and experimental characterisation of microchannel plate
(MCP) X-ray optics for the BepiColombo Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS). We show that MCP
optics technology allows the design of a highly capable imaging telescope with 1 m focal length, a 1° field of
view and approximately 50 cm2 of on-axis effective area at 1 keV. Of a total instrument mass budget 7.3 kg, less
than 2.3 kg is allocated to the optics assemblies, telescope tubes, support structures and the electron diverters
(used to deflect electrons from the focal plane). The instrument science goals require an imaging resolution of 9
arcminutes, with a design goal of 2 arcminutes. Recent experimental data, taken from individual optic elements
is presented to show that MCP quality is in good agreement with the error budgets assumed in theoretical
calculations of performance.
DEPFET Macropixel detectors, based on the fusion of the combined Detector-Amplifier structure DEPFET with
a silicon drift chamber (SDD) like drift ring structure, combine the excellent properties of the DEPFETs with
the advantages of the drift detectors. As both device concepts rely on the principle of sideways depletion, a
device entrance window with excellent properties is obtained at full depletion of the detector volume.
DEPFET based focal plane arrays have been proposed for the Focal Plane Detectors for the MIXS (Mercury
Imaging X-ray Spectrometer) instrument on BepiColombo, ESAs fifth cornerstone mission, with destination
Mercury. MIXS uses a lightweight Wolter Type 1 mirror system to focus fluorescent radiation from the Mercury
surface on the FPA detector, which yields the spatially resolved relative element abundance in Mercurys crust.
In combination with the reference information from the Solar Intensity X-ray Spectrometer (SIXS), the element
abundance can be measured quantitatively as well. The FPA needs to have an energy resolution better than
200 eV FWHM @ 1 keV and is required to cover an energy range from 0.5 keV to 10 keV, for a pixel size of
300 x 300 μm2. Main challenges for the instrument are the increase in leakage current due to a high level of
radiation damage, and the limited cooling resources due to the difficult thermal environment in the mercury
orbit. By applying an advanced cooling concept, using all available cooling power for the detector itself, and
very high speed readout, the energy resolution requirement can be kept during the entire mission lifetime up to
an end-of-life dose of ~ 3 × 1010 10 MeV p / cm2. The production of the first batch of flight devices has been
finished at the MPI semiconductor laboratory, and first prototype modules have been built. The results of the
first tests will be presented here.
This paper describes the conceptual thermo-mechanical design of the MIXS (Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer)
Focal Plane Assembly (FPA). This design is mainly driven by thermal requirements: The Detector is required to operate
below -45 ºC, while the Detector and proximity electronics dissipate more than 2 W, which the passive cooling system
can not handle at the required temperature.
In order to get rid of this cross-constraint, the Detector was separated from the Proximity electronics board, which in turn
has introduced a new dimension of mechanical requirements, as the 370+ bond wires that interconnect both are
extremely delicate and have a high thermal conductivity.
Largely thermal considerations have led the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Mid Infra Red Instrument (MIRI) European Consortium to specify a CFRP hexapod with rigidised Invar endfittings and brackets to form the Primary Structure of the instrument. Each bracket incorporates a pair of orthogonal flexures to provide kinematic mounting to JWST.
The principal alignment of the instrument, namely the placing of the Pick-off Mirror (POM) in the telescope frame, must be known and be trackable by a combination of measurement and prediction. Contributors to the alignment are many and various, but potentially great uncertainty lies with the use of a hexapod with field separable joints. In order to provide continuous measurement of the response of the Primary Structure hexapod to integration, g release effects and
thermoelastic effects, we have installed a strain gauge array in proximity to the flexures. In this way, asymmetrical strains, inadvertantly introduced during integration, may be detected. The technology employed is that of optical Fibre Bragg Gratings (FBGs), which allow us to measure strains continuously from room temperature down to cryogenic temperatures, with a modest investment in temperature calibration. The strain array has been used during the integration and testing of the Structural Thermal Model of the instrument, and some data have been obtained regarding the utility
and effectiveness of this technique in diagnosing sources of alignment error buildup. This paper describes the technology employed, the logic behind these measurements and experience with integration and calibration. Analysis, and the results of some tests, both mechanical and thermal, are presented and discussed.
An X-ray interferometer can be realised using a simple geometric arrangement of flat grazing incidence mirrors and a slatted grazing incidence mirror. This optical design has the advantage that large baseline separations ~ 1m can be accomodated within an envelope 2m by 20m. Operating at 1 keV such a device could provide angular resolutions of 100 micro arc seconds with a collecting area large enough to allow imaging of many potential astronomical targets. We describe the construction of an Optical Demonstration Model, working in the visible band, used as a proof of concept for the proposed scheme.
The design of the Primary Structure of the Mid Infra-Red Instrument (MIRI) onboard the NASA/ESA James Webb Space Telescope will be presented. The main design driver is the energy flow from the 35 K "hot" satellite interface to the 7 K "cold" MIRI interface. Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) was chosen for this application due to the low thermal conductivity at cryogenic temperatures, high strength and low density. Details of the qualification program will be given.
The ESA cornerstone mission GAIA will perform astrometric, photometric and spectroscopic measurements and is due for launch in 2010 into L2 orbit. The astrometric telescope system will catalogue the position of over 109 objects down to 20th magnitude and perform broadband photometry. The spectroscopic telescope will provide narrow-band photometry and feed a Radial Velocity Spectrometer which will accurately determine the radial velocities of objects down to 17-18 magnitude. This paper discusses the characteristics of the detectors envisaged for the focal plane of the RVS instrument.
We describe the design of Lobster-ISS, an X-ray imaging all-sky monitor (ASM) to be flown as an attached payload on the International Space Station. Lobster-ISS is the subject of an ESA Phase-A study which will begin in December 2001. With an instantaneous field of view 162 x 22.5 degrees, Lobster-ISS will map almost the complete sky every 90 minute ISS orbit, generating a confusion-limited catalogue of ~250,000 sources every 2 months. Lobster-ISS will use focusing microchannel plate optics and imaging gas proportional micro-well detectors; work is currently underway to improve the MCP optics and to develop proportional counter windows with enhanced transmission and negligible rates of gas leakage, thus improving instrument throughput and reducing mass. Lobster-ISS provides an order of magnitude improvement in the sensitivity of X-ray ASMs, and will, for the first time, provide continuous monitoring of the sky in the soft X-ray region (0.1-3.5 keV). Lobster-ISS provides long term monitoring of all classes of variable X-ray source, and an essential alert facility, with rapid detection of transient X-ray sources such as Gamma-Ray Burst afterglows being relayed to contemporary pointed X-ray observatories. The mission, with a nominal lifetime of 3 years, is scheduled for launch on the Shuttle c.2009.
A new European Space Agency (ESA) flight instrument attached to the exterior of the MIR Space Station is providing a better understanding of the effects of the space environment. The instrument is measuring, real time, the impacts and trajectory of hypervelocity particles, the atomic oxygen flux and any contamination deposition/effects during the course of the mission. The ESA mission, EuroMir '95, began in September 1995 and was completed in March 1996. Active data from the quartz crystal microbalances confirm the existence of a severe gaseous environment. The mission has also allowed for an EVA which will return passive materials to earth for subsequent laboratory analyses. These data are considered quite germane due to the similarity in orbital altitude and inclination of the Mir and Alpha Space Stations.
A new European Space Agency (ESA) flight instrument attached to the exterior of the MIR Space Station is providing a better understanding of the effects of the space environment. The instrument was designed to measure, real time, the impacts and trajectory of hypervelocity particles, the atomic oxygen flux and contamination deposition/effects during the course of the mission. The ESA mission, EuroMir'95, began in September 1995 and was completed in March 1996. Active data from the momentum detectors have reconfirmed the existence of an orbital debris cloud. The mission also allowed for an EVA which returned passive materials to Earth for subsequent laboratory analyses. The early results of this experiment suggest the existence of one reasonable size cloud of small size debris particles with momenta in the range of 4E-11 kg-m/s to 5E-10 kg-m/s. These data are considered quite germane due to the similarity in orbital altitude and inclination of the Mir and Alpha Space Stations.