The focal plane assembly for the Athena X-ray Integral Field Unit instrument

B.D. B. D. Jackson, H. van Weers, J. van der Kuur, R. den Hartog, H. Akamatsu, A. Argan, S.R. Bandler, M. Barbera, D. Barret, M.P. Bruijn, J.A. Chervenak, J. Dercksen, F. Gatti, L. Gottardi, D. Haas, J-W. den Herder, C.A. Kilbourne, Mikko Kiviranta, T. Lam-Trong, B-J. van LeeuwenC. Macculi, L. Piro, S.J. Smith

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper summarizes a preliminary design concept for the focal plane assembly of the X-ray Integral Field Unit on the Athena spacecraft, an imaging microcalorimeter that will enable high spectral resolution imaging and point-source spectroscopy. The instrument's sensor array will be a ~ 3840-pixel transition edge sensor (TES) microcalorimeter array, with a frequency domain multiplexed SQUID readout system allowing this large-format sensor array to be operated within the thermal constraints of the instrument's cryogenic system. A second TES detector will be operated in close proximity to the sensor array to detect cosmic rays and secondary particles passing through the sensor array for off-line coincidence detection to identify and reject events caused by the in-orbit high-energy particle background. The detectors, operating at 55 mK, or less, will be thermally isolated from the instrument cryostat's 2 K stage, while shielding and filtering within the FPA will allow the instrument's sensitive sensor array to be operated in the expected environment during both on-ground testing and in-flight operation, including straylight from the cryostat environment, low-energy photons entering through the X-ray aperture, low-frequency magnetic fields, and high-frequency electric fields.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016
    Subtitle of host publicationUltraviolet to Gamma Ray
    PublisherInternational Society for Optics and Photonics SPIE
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventSPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Duration: 26 Jun 20161 Jul 2016

    Publication series

    SeriesProceedings of SPIE


    ConferenceSPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Athena
    • cryogenic anti-coincidence detector
    • focal plane assembly
    • frequency division multiplexing
    • SQUID amplifier
    • transition edge sensor
    • X-IFU
    • X-ray microcalorimeter


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