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A. Parsons, S. Barthelmy, L. Barbier, N. Gehrels, D. Palmer, J. Tueller (NASA/GSFC), E. Fenimore (Los Alamos National Laboratory), BAT Engineering Team
The Swift Gamma Ray Burst MIDEX is a multiwavelength observatory scheduled to be launched in September 2003 to study gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and their x-ray and optical afterglow emission. Swift will exploit these newly discovered GRB afterglow characteristics to make a comprehensive study of ~ 1000 GRBs and use the afterglow phenomenon as a tool for probing their source and evolution. Swift will also be able to use GRBs 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 and locations 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 (2.6 m2) coded aperture mask. The BAT detector plane consists of 128 CdZnTe semiconductor detector modules each containing 256 individual, planar 4 mm x 4 mm x 2 mm CdZnTe detectors that are read out by a pair of XA1 Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). The BAT mask will be constructed using 5 mm x 5 mm x 1 mm lead tiles 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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