AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 12 Con-X Instruments and Optics
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[12.08] The development of high resolution silicon x-ray microcalorimeters

F. S. Porter, R. L. Kelley, C. A. Kilbourne (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

Recently we have produced x-ray microcalorimeters with resolving powers approaching 2000 at 5.9 keV using a spare XRS microcalorimeter array. We attached 400 um square, 8 um thick HgTe absorbers using a variety of attachment methods to an XRS array and ran the detector array at temperatures between 40 and 60 mK. The best results were for absorbers attached using the standard XRS absorber-pixel thermal isolation scheme utilizing SU8 polymer tubes. In this scenario we achieved a resolution of 3.2 eV FWHM at 5.9 keV. Substituting a silicon spacer for the SU8 tubes also yielded sub-4eV results. In contrast, absorbers attached directly to the thermistor produced significant position dependence and thus degraded resolution. Finally, we tested standard 640um-square XRS detectors at reduced bias power at 50mK and achieved a resolution of 3.7eV, a 50% improvement over the XRS flight instrument. Implanted silicon microcalorimeters are a mature flight-qualified technology that still has a substantial phase space for future development. We will discuss these new high resolution results, the various absorber attachment schemes, planned future improvements, and, finally, their relevance to future high resolution x-ray spectrometers including Constellation-X.

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