Lynx is an x-ray telescope, one of four large satellite mission concepts currently being studied by NASA to be a flagship mission. One of Lynx’s three instruments is an imaging spectrometer called the Lynx x-ray microcalorimeter (LXM), an x-ray microcalorimeter behind an x-ray optic with an angular resolution of 0.5 arc sec and ∼2 m2 of area at 1 keV. The LXM will provide unparalleled diagnostics of distant extended structures and, in particular, will allow the detailed study of the role of cosmic feedback in the evolution of the Universe. We discuss the baseline design of LXM and some parallel approaches for some of the key technologies. The baseline sensor technology uses transition-edge sensors, but we also consider an alternative approach using metallic magnetic calorimeters. We discuss the requirements for the instrument, the pixel layout, and the baseline readout design, which uses microwave superconducting quantum interference devices and high-electron mobility transistor amplifiers and the cryogenic cooling requirements and strategy for meeting these requirements. For each of these technologies, we discuss the current technology readiness level and our strategy for advancing them to be ready for flight. We also describe the current system design, including the block diagram, and our estimate for the mass, power, and data rate of the instrument.
We are developing arrays of position-sensitive microcalorimeters for future x-ray astronomy applications. These position-sensitive devices commonly referred to as hydras consist of multiple x-ray absorbers, each with a different thermal coupling to a single-transition-edge sensor microcalorimeter. Their development is motivated by a desire to achieve very large pixel arrays with some modest compromise in performance. We report on the design, optimization, and first results from devices with small pitch pixels (<75 μm) being developed for a high-angular and energy resolution imaging spectrometer for Lynx. The Lynx x-ray space telescope is a flagship mission concept under study for the National Academy of Science 2020 decadal survey. Broadband full-width-half-maximum (FWHM) resolution measurements on a 9-pixel hydra have demonstrated ΔEFWHM = 2.23 ± 0.14 eV at Al-Kα, ΔEFWHM = 2.44 ± 0.29 eV at Mn-Kα, and ΔEFWHM = 3.39 ± 0.23 eV at Cu-Kα. Position discrimination is demonstrated to energies below <1 keV and the device performance is well-described by a finite-element model. Results from a prototype 20-pixel hydra with absorbers on a 50-μm pitch have shown ΔEFWHM = 3.38 ± 0.20 eV at Cr-Kα1. We are now optimizing designs specifically for Lynx and extending the number of absorbers up to 25/hydra. Numerical simulation suggests optimized designs could achieve ∼3 eV while being compatible with the bandwidth requirements of the state-of-the art multiplexed readout schemes, thus making a 100,000 pixel microcalorimeter instrument a realistic goal.
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.
We have demonstrated a kilopixel, filled, infrared bolometer array for the balloon-borne Primordial Inflation Polarization Explorer (PIPER). The array consists of three individual components assembled into a single working unit: 1) a transition-edge-sensor bolometer array with background-limited sensitivity, 2) a quarter–wavelength backshort grid, and 3) an integrated Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) multiplexer (MUX) readout. The detector array is a filled, square–grid of suspended, one-micron thick silicon bolometers with superconducting sensors. The Backshort–Under–Grid (BUG) is a separately fabricated component serving as a backshort to each pixel in the array. The backshorts are positioned in the cavities created behind each detector by the back–etched well. The spacing of the backshort beneath the detector grid can be set from ~30-300_microns by independently adjusting process parameters during fabrication. Kilopixel arrays are directly indium–bump–bonded to a 32x40 SQUID multiplexer circuit. The array architecture is suitable for a wide range of wavelengths and applications. Detector design specific to the PIPER instrument, fabrication overview, and assembly technologies will be discussed.
The SPTpol camera is a two-color, polarization-sensitive bolometer receiver, and was installed on the 10 meter South Pole Telescope in January 2012. SPTpol is designed to study the faint polarization signals in the Cosmic Microwave Background, with two primary scientific goals. One is to constrain the tensor-to-scalar ratio of perturbations in the primordial plasma, and thus constrain the space of permissible in inflationary models. The other is to measure the weak lensing effect of large-scale structure on CMB polarization, which can be used to constrain the sum of neutrino masses as well as other growth-related parameters. The SPTpol focal plane consists of seven 84-element monolithic arrays of 150 GHz pixels (588 total) and 180 individual 90 GHz single- pixel modules. In this paper we present the design and characterization of the 90 GHz modules.
The SPTpol camera is a dichroic polarimetric receiver at 90 and 150 GHz. Deployed in January 2012 on the South Pole Telescope (SPT), SPTpol is looking for faint polarization signals in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The camera consists of 180 individual Transition Edge Sensor (TES) polarimeters at 90 GHz and seven 84-polarimeter camera modules (a total of 588 polarimeters) at 150 GHz. We present the design, dark characterization, and in-lab optical properties of the 150 GHz camera modules. The modules consist of photolithographed arrays of TES polarimeters coupled to silicon platelet arrays of corrugated feedhorns, both of which are fabricated at NIST-Boulder. In addition to mounting hardware and RF shielding, each module also contains a set of passive readout electronics for digital frequency-domain multiplexing. A single module, therefore, is fully functional as a miniature focal plane and can be tested independently. Across the modules tested before deployment, the detectors average a critical temperature of 478 mK, normal resistance RN of 1.2Ω , unloaded saturation power of 22.5 pW, (detector-only) optical efficiency of ~ 90%, and have electrothermal time constants < 1 ms in transition.
SPTpol is a dual-frequency polarization-sensitive camera that was deployed on the 10-meter South Pole Telescope in January 2012. SPTpol will measure the polarization anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) on angular scales spanning an arcminute to several degrees. The polarization sensitivity of SPTpol will enable a detection of the CMB “B-mode” polarization from the detection of the gravitational lensing of the CMB by large scale structure, and a detection or improved upper limit on a primordial signal due to inationary gravity waves. The two measurements can be used to constrain the sum of the neutrino masses and the energy scale of ination. These science goals can be achieved through the polarization sensitivity of the SPTpol camera and careful control of systematics. The SPTpol camera consists of 768 pixels, each containing two transition-edge sensor (TES) bolometers coupled to orthogonal polarizations, and a total of 1536 bolometers. The pixels are sensitive to light in one of two frequency bands centered at 90 and 150 GHz, with 180 pixels at 90 GHz and 588 pixels at 150 GHz. The SPTpol design has several features designed to control polarization systematics, including: singlemoded feedhorns with low cross-polarization, bolometer pairs well-matched to dfference atmospheric signals, an improved ground shield design based on far-sidelobe measurements of the SPT, and a small beam to reduce temperature to polarization leakage. We present an overview of the SPTpol instrument design, project status, and science projections.
In January 2012, the 10m South Pole Telescope (SPT) was equipped with a polarization-sensitive camera, SPTpol, in order to measure the polarization anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Measurements of the polarization of the CMB at small angular scales (~several arcminutes) can detect the gravitational lensing of the CMB by large scale structure and constrain the sum of the neutrino masses. At large angular scales (~few degrees) CMB measurements can constrain the energy scale of Inflation. SPTpol is a two-color mm-wave camera that consists of 180 polarimeters at 90 GHz and 588 polarimeters at 150 GHz, with each polarimeter consisting of a dual transition edge sensor (TES) bolometers. The full complement of 150 GHz detectors consists of 7 arrays of 84 ortho-mode transducers (OMTs) that are stripline coupled to two TES detectors per OMT, developed by the TRUCE collaboration and fabricated at NIST. Each 90 GHz pixel consists of two antenna-coupled absorbers coupled to two TES detectors, developed with Argonne National Labs. The 1536 total detectors are read out with digital frequency-domain multiplexing (DfMUX). The SPTpol deployment represents the first on-sky tests of both of these detector technologies, and is one of the first deployed instruments using DfMUX readout technology. We present the details of the design, commissioning, deployment, on-sky optical characterization and detector performance of the complete SPTpol focal plane.
We present the software system used to control and operate the South Pole Telescope. The South Pole Telescope is
a 10-meter millimeter-wavelength telescope designed to measure anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background
(CMB) at arcminute angular resolution. In the austral summer of 2011/12, the SPT was equipped with a new
polarization-sensitive camera, which consists of 1536 transition-edge sensor bolometers. The bolometers are read
out using 36 independent digital frequency multiplexing (DfMux) readout boards, each with its own embedded
processors. These autonomous boards control and read out data from the focal plane with on-board software
and firmware. An overall control software system running on a separate control computer controls the DfMux
boards, the cryostat and all other aspects of telescope operation. This control software collects and monitors
data in real-time, and stores the data to disk for transfer to the United States for analysis.
We discuss the development, at Argonne National Laboratory, of a four-pixel camera suitable for photometry of distant
dusty galaxies located by Spitzer and SCUBA, and for study of other millimeter-wave sources such as ultra-luminous
infrared galaxies, the Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect in clusters, and galactic dust. Utilizing Frequency Selective
Bolometers (FSBs) with superconducting Transition-Edge Sensors (TESs), each of the camera's four pixels is sensitive
to four colors, with frequency bands centered approximately at 150, 220, 270, and 360 GHz.
The current generation of these devices utilizes proximity effect superconducting bilayers of Mo/Au or Ti/Au for TESs,
along with frequency selective circuitry on membranes of silicon nitride 1 cm across and 1 micron thick. The operational
properties of these devices are determined by this circuitry, along with thermal control structures etched into the
membranes. These etched structures do not perforate the membrane, so that the device is both comparatively robust
mechanically and carefully tailored in terms of its thermal transport properties.
In this paper, we report on development of the superconducting bilayer TES technology and characterization of the FSB
stacks. This includes the use of new materials, the design and testing of thermal control structures, the introduction of
desirable thermal properties using buried layers of crystalline silicon underneath the membrane, detector stability control,
and optical and thermal test results. The scientific motivation, FSB design, FSB fabrication, and measurement results are