CCDs continue to be the detector of choice for high resolution and high performance space applications. One perceived drawback is their susceptibility to radiation damage, in particular the formation of trap sites leading to a decrease in charge transfer efficiency. To that end, ESA has started a programme to investigate a new generation of devices based upon p-channel technology. The expectation is that once mature, p-channel devices may offer a significant increase in tolerance to proton radiation over traditional n-type buried channel CCDs. Early studies of e2v devices to assess the radiation hardness of p-channel devices were limited by the quality of devices available, however more recently, good quality p-channel CCD204s have been manufactured and studied. A more detailed evaluation of p-channel CCDs is now underway to realise the full potential of the technology for use in future high radiation environment space missions. A key aspect is the development of a cryogenic test rig that will allow for the first time a direct comparison of the radiation damage effects when the irradiation is performed both traditionally unbiased at room temperature and cryogenically with the device operational. Subsequent characterisations will also be performed on the cryogenic device after periods of storage at room temperature to investigate the potential annealing effects upon the lattice damage. Here we describe and present early results from an extensive programme of testing which will address all key performance parameters for p-channel CCDs, such as full electro-optical characterisation, assessment of radiation hardness and investigation of trap species.
The Open University, in collaboration with e2v technologies and XCAM Ltd, have been selected to fly an EO
(Earth Observation) technology demonstrator and in-orbit radiation damage characterisation instrument on
board the UK Space Agency's UKube-1 pilot Cubesat programme. Cubesat payloads offer a unique opportunity
to rapidly build and fly space hardware for minimal cost, providing easy access to the space environment. Based
around the e2v 1.3 MPixel 0.18 micron process eye-on-Si CMOS devices, the instrument consists of a radiation
characterisation imager as well as a narrow field imager (NFI) and a wide field imager (WFI). The narrow and
wide field imagers are expected to achieve resolutions of 25 m and 350 m respectively from a 650 km orbit,
providing sufficient swathe width to view the southern UK with the WFI and London with the NFI. The
radiation characterisation experiment has been designed to verify and reinforce ground based testing that has
been conducted on the e2v eye-on-Si family of devices and includes TEC temperature control circuitry as well
as RADFET in-orbit dosimetry. Of particular interest are SEU and SEL effects. The novel instrument design
allows for a wide range of capabilities within highly constrained mass, power and space budgets providing a
model for future use on similarly constrained missions, such as planetary rovers. Scheduled for launch in
December 2011, this 1 year low cost programme should not only provide valuable data and outreach
opportunities but also help to prove flight heritage for future missions.
The International X-ray Observatory (IXO) is a collaborative effort between NASA, ESA, and JAXA. The IXO science
goals are heavily based on obtaining high quality X-ray spectra. In order to achieve this goal the science payload will
incorporate an array of gratings for high resolution, high throughput spectroscopy at the lowest X-ray energies, 0.3 - 1.0
keV. The spectrometer will address a number of important astrophysical goals such as studying the dynamics of clusters
of galaxies, determining how elements are created in the explosions of massive stars, and revealing most of the "normal"
matter in the universe which is currently thought to be hidden in hot filaments of gas stretching between galaxies. We
present here a mature design concept for an Off-Plane X-ray Grating Spectrometer (OP-XGS). This XGS concept has
seen recent significant advancements in optical and mechanical design. We present here an analysis of how the baseline
OP-XGS design fulfills the IXO science requirements for the XGS and the optical and mechanical details of this design.
The International X-ray Observatory (IXO) is a merger of the former ESA XEUS and NASA Constellation-X missions,
with additional collaboration from JAXA, proposed for launch ~2020. IXO will address the leading astrophysical
questions in the 'hot universe' through its breakthrough capabilities in X-ray spectroscopy. The mission covers the 0.1
to 40 keV energy range, complementing the capabilities of the next generation observatories, such as ALMA, LSST,
JWST and 30 meter ground-based telescopes. An X-ray Grating Spectrometer is baselined to provide science in the
energy range 0.3-1.0 keV at a spectral resolution of E/ΔE > 3,000 with an effective area greater than 1,000 cm2. This
will require an array of soft X-ray enhanced CCDs operating at a modest frame rate to measure the diffracted light in
both position and energy. Here we describe the baseline camera for the Off-plane XGS instrument using mature CCD