Lynx is a concept under study for prioritization in the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Providing orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity over Chandra, Lynx will examine the first black holes and their galaxies, map the large-scale structure and galactic halos, and shed new light on the environments of young stars and their planetary systems. In order to meet the Lynx science goals, the telescope consists of a high-angular resolution optical assembly complemented by an instrument suite that may include a High Definition X-ray Imager, X-ray Microcalorimeter and an X-ray Grating Spectrometer. The telescope is integrated onto the spacecraft to form a comprehensive observatory concept. Progress on the formulation of the Lynx telescope and observatory configuration is reported in this paper.
The focal plane of the X-ray integral field unit (X-IFU) for ESA’s Athena X-ray observatory will consist of ~ 4000 transition edge sensor (TES) x-ray microcalorimeters optimized for the energy range of 0.2 to 12 keV. The instrument will provide unprecedented spectral resolution of ~ 2.5 eV at energies of up to 7 keV and will accommodate photon fluxes of 1 mCrab (90 cps) for point source observations. The baseline configuration is a uniform large pixel array (LPA) of 4.28” pixels that is read out using frequency domain multiplexing (FDM). However, an alternative configuration under study incorporates an 18 × 18 small pixel array (SPA) of 2” pixels in the central ~ 36” region. This hybrid array configuration could be designed to accommodate higher fluxes of up to 10 mCrab (900 cps) or alternately for improved spectral performance (< 1.5 eV) at low count-rates. In this paper we report on the TES pixel designs that are being optimized to meet these proposed LPA and SPA configurations. In particular we describe details of how important TES parameters are chosen to meet the specific mission criteria such as energy resolution, count-rate and quantum efficiency, and highlight performance trade-offs between designs. The basis of the pixel parameter selection is discussed in the context of existing TES arrays that are being developed for solar and x-ray astronomy applications. We describe the latest results on DC biased diagnostic arrays as well as large format kilo-pixel arrays and discuss the technical challenges associated with integrating different array types on to a single detector die.
Four astrophysics missions are currently being studied by NASA as candidate large missions to be chosen in the 2020 astrophysics decadal survey.1 One of these missions is the “X-Ray Surveyor” (XRS), and possible configurations of this mission are currently under study by a science and technology definition team (STDT). One of the key instruments under study is an X-ray microcalorimeter, and the requirements for such an instrument are currently under discussion. In this paper we review some different detector options that exist for this instrument, and discuss what array formats might be possible. We have developed one design option that utilizes either transition-edge sensor (TES) or magnetically coupled calorimeters (MCC) in pixel array-sizes approaching 100 kilo-pixels. To reduce the number of sensors read out to a plausible scale, we have assumed detector geometries in which a thermal sensor such a TES or MCC can read out a sub-array of 20-25 individual 1” pixels. In this paper we describe the development status of these detectors, and also discuss the different options that exist for reading out the very large number of pixels.