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19 July 2016 Development of x-ray microcalorimeter imaging spectrometers for the X-ray Surveyor mission concept
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Four astrophysics missions are currently being studied by NASA as candidate large missions to be chosen in the 2020 astrophysics decadal survey.1 One of these missions is the “X-Ray Surveyor” (XRS), and possible configurations of this mission are currently under study by a science and technology definition team (STDT). One of the key instruments under study is an X-ray microcalorimeter, and the requirements for such an instrument are currently under discussion. In this paper we review some different detector options that exist for this instrument, and discuss what array formats might be possible. We have developed one design option that utilizes either transition-edge sensor (TES) or magnetically coupled calorimeters (MCC) in pixel array-sizes approaching 100 kilo-pixels. To reduce the number of sensors read out to a plausible scale, we have assumed detector geometries in which a thermal sensor such a TES or MCC can read out a sub-array of 20-25 individual 1” pixels. In this paper we describe the development status of these detectors, and also discuss the different options that exist for reading out the very large number of pixels.
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