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A. Parsons (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center), S. Barthelmy, L. Barbier (NASA/Goddard), E. Fenimore (Los Alamos National Laboratory), N. Gehrels, D. Palmer, J. Tueller (NASA/Goddard)
Swift is a multiwavelength transient observatory for gamma-ray burst (GRB) astronomy that has recently been selected by NASA for a Midex Phase A study. The goals of the Swift mission are to determine the origin of GRBs and their afterglows and to use bursts to probe the early Universe. The Burst Alert Telescope (BAT), a large coded aperture instrument with a wide field-of-view (FOV), provides the gamma-ray burst triggers for the Swift Mission. BAT will observe and locate hundreds of bursts per year to better than 4 arc minutes accuracy. Using this prompt burst location information, Swift can slew quickly (within 20 - 70 s) to point on-board x-ray (XRT) and optical (UVOT) instrumentation at the burst for continued afterglow studies.
The BAT instrument consists of a large (5200 cm2) hard x-ray detector plane positioned one meter away from an even larger (3.2 m2) coded aperture mask. The BAT detector plane consists of 256 CdZnTe semiconductor detector modules each containing 128 individual, planar 4 mm x 4 mm x 2 mm CdZnTe detectors that are read out by a single XA1 Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). The BAT mask will be constructed using 5 mm x 5 mm x 0.5 mm tungsten plates attached to a self-supporting 0.4 g/cm2 substrate fabricated from Kevlar fiber/honeycomb materials. With 4 mm square focal plane detector elements and 5 mm square mask pixels, BAT will have angular resolution better than 22 arc minutes and will determine GRB source locations to ~ 4 arc minutes for bursts detected at 5 sigma or brighter. A full description of the BAT instrument and its capabilities will be presented along with results from performance tests of prototype detector modules.
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