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29 July 2014 Towards Mo/Au based TES detectors for Athena/X-IFU
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The X-ray spectroscopy telescope Athena has been designed to implement the science theme "the hot and energetic universe", selected by the European Space Agency as the second large mission of its Cosmic Vision program. X-IFU, one of the two interchangeable focal plane instruments of Athena, is a high resolution X-ray spectrometer made of a large array of Transition Edge Sensors. Two options are under consideration for the X-IFU microcalorimeters: Ti/Au bilayers or Mo/Au bilayers. Here we report on our efforts to develop Mo/Au-based TES. The TES are made of high quality superconducting Mo/Au bilayers fabricated at room temperature on low stress Si3N4 membranes; Mo is deposited by RF magnetron sputtering and in-situ covered by a thin (15nm) Au layer deposited by DC sputtering; in a second step, the Au layer thickness is increased ex-situ by e-beam deposition, to obtain suitable resistance Rn and operation temperature values. Very sharp transitions (~few mK transition width) are obtained, with typically Rn~25mΩ and Tc~ 100-120mK for 65/215 bilayers. First simple TES designs are being tested. Also, Bi films several μm thick, intended to constitute the X-ray absorber, are fabricated by electrochemical deposition.
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