Title of Presentation: Technology Development for Diffuse X-ray Science (and other things . . .)
Primary (Corresponding) Author: Dan McCammon
Organization of Primary Author:
Co-Authors: Gwynne Crowder, Kat Barger, Don Brandl, Mark Lindeman, Lindsay Rocks
Abstract: Our SMD-funded investigations of the diffuse X-ray background have always included technology development as a major component. The technology advances are required to make progress on our own science objectives, but most of them are also applicable to future SMD missions addressing several NASA Goals. Since a science investigation requires many different technologies, we have been working in several areas and report here on those related to cryogenic microcalorimeter detectors and filters. The detector work includes studies of thermalization efficiency and heat capacity in absorbers for low energy X-rays and optimization of phonon coupling between absorber and thermometer. For the long run we are also studying fundamental noise mechanisms in superconducting transition edge thermometers. The filter work is motivated by the need to obtain high spectral resolution data down to photon energies as low as 60 eV for interstellar plasma diagnostics. We report on the development of a monolithic silicon mesh support structure that allows us to fly thin large area filters with very high transmission on our sounding rocket experiment. These same support meshes will allow filters with vastly improved low energy response to be sufficiently robust to be flown on high-value major missions, where they have been considered too risky in the past. The filter supports include an integrated deicing heater that can be used to safely remove in-flight contamination buildup such as that which has severely degraded detector performance on the Chandra and Suzaku X-ray missions.