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C.A. Kilbourne, S.R. Bandler, J.A. Chervenak, E. Figueroa-Feliciano, F.M. Finkbeiner, N. Iyomoto, R.L. Kelley, F.S. Porter (NASA/GSFC), T. Saab (U. Florida), J. Sadleir (NASA/GSFC and U. Illinois)
We have been developing x-ray microcalorimeters for the Constellation-X mission. Devices based on superconducting transition edge sensors (TES) have demonstrated the potential to meet the Constellation-X requirements for spectral resolution, speed, and array scale (> 1000 pixels) in a close-packed geometry.
In our part of the GSFC/NIST collaboration on this technology development, we have been concentrating on the fabrication of arrays of pixels suitable for the Constellation-X reference configuration. We have fabricated 8x8 arrays with 0.25-mm pixels arranged with 92% fill factor. The pixels are based on Mo/Au TES and Bi/Cu absorbers. We have achieved a resolution of 4.9 eV FWHM at 6 keV in such devices.
Studies of the thermal transport in our Bi/Cu absorbers have shown that, while there is room for improvement, for 0.25 mm pixels our existing absorber design is adequate to avoid line-broadening from position dependence caused by thermal diffusion. In order to push closer to the 4-eV requirement and 2-eV goal at 6 keV, we are refining the design of the TES and the interface to the absorber.
For the 32x32 arrays ultimately needed for Constellation-X, signal lead routing and heatsinking will drive the design. We have had early successes with experiments in electroplating electrical vias and thermal busses into micro-machined features in silicon substrates. The next steps will be fabricating arrays that have all of the essential features of the required flight design, testing, and then engineering a prototype array for optimum performance.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.