The X-ray Calorimeter Spectrometer on Hitomi
This photo shows the X-ray Calorimeter Spectrometer (XCS), the key element of the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) on the Hitomi satellite.
The SXS is a high-resolution, high-throughput spectrometer sensitive to photons with energy between 0.3 keV and 12 keV. It is a non-dispersive spectrometer, based on a calorimeter rather than on a grating, and therefore can achieve a spectral resolution of less than 7 eV – this is much higher than what is accessible to current grating spectrometers.
The XCS array consists of micro-machined, ion-implanted Si thermistors, with HgTe absorbers attached to them to provide higher quantum efficiency. The array contains 36 pixels, with a size of 814 μm each: taking into account the 5.6-m focal length of the Soft X-ray Telescope, the resulting field of view is of 3' × 3'.
To obtain high energy resolution, the array must be cooled down to about 50 mK.
Hitomi (known as ASTRO-H prior to launch) is a high-energy astrophysics space observatory, developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in collaboration with institutions in Japan, the US, Canada, and Europe.