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See detailThe Athena X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU)
Barret, Didier; Trong, Thien Lam; den Herder, Jan-Willem et al

in Proc. SPIE. 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99052F. (August 17, 2016) (2016, August 01)

The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) on board the Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics (Athena) will provide spatially resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy from 0.2 to 12 keV, with 5 ... [more ▼]

The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) on board the Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics (Athena) will provide spatially resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy from 0.2 to 12 keV, with 5 arc second pixels over a field of view of 5 arc minute equivalent diameter and a spectral resolution of 2.5 eV up to 7 keV. In this paper, we first review the core scientific objectives of Athena, driving the main performance parameters of the X-IFU, namely the spectral resolution, the field of view, the effective area, the count rate capabilities, the instrumental background. We also illustrate the breakthrough potential of the X-IFU for some observatory science goals. Then we briefly describe the X-IFU design as defined at the time of the mission consolidation review concluded in May 2016, and report on its predicted performance. Finally, we discuss some options to improve the instrument performance while not increasing its complexity and resource demands (e.g. count rate capability, spectral resolution). The X-IFU will be provided by an international consortium led by France, The Netherlands and Italy, with further ESA member state contributions from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and two international partners from the United States and Japan. [less ▲]

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