The Athena+ mission concept is designed to implement the Hot and Energetic Universe science theme submitted to the European Space Agency in response to the call for White Papers for the definition of the L2 and L3 missions of its science program. The Athena+ science payload consists of a large aperture high angular resolution X-ray optics and twelve meters away, two interchangeable focal plane instruments: the X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) and the Wide Field Imager (WFI). The X-IFU is a cryogenic X-ray spectrometer, based on a large array of Transition Edge Sensors (TES), offering 2.5 eV spectral resolution, with ~5" pixels, over a field of view of 5 arc minutes in diameter. In this paper, we briefly describe the Athena+ mission concept and the X-IFU performance requirements. We then present the X-IFU detector and readout electronics principles, the current design of the focal plane assembly, the cooling chain and review the global architecture design. Finally, we describe the current performance estimates, in terms of effective area, particle background rejection, count rate capability and velocity measurements. Finally, we emphasize on the latest technology developments concerning TES array fabrication, spectral resolution and readout performance achieved to show that significant progresses are being accomplished towards the demanding X-IFU requirements.
- Pub Date:
- August 2013
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- Supporting paper for the science theme "The Hot and Energetic Universe" to be implemented by the Athena+ X-ray observatory (http://www.the-athena-x-ray-observatory.eu). 17 pages, 19 figures