While X-ray spectroscopy, timing, and imaging have improved much since 1962 when the first astronomical nonsolar source was discovered, especially wi the launch of the Newton/X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, Rossi/X-ray Timing Explorer, and Chandra/Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility, the progress of X-ray polarimetry has been meager. This is in part due to the lack of sensitive polarization detectors, which in turn is a result of the fate of approved missions and because celestial X-ray sources appear less polarized than expected. Only one positive measurement has been available until now: the Orbiting Solar Observatory measured the polarization of the Crab Nebula in the 1970s. The advent of microelectronics techniques has allowed for designing a detector based on the photoelectric effect of gas in an energy range where the optics are efficient at focusing in X-rays. Here we describe the instrument, which is the major contribution of the Italian collaboration to the Small Explorer mission called IXPE, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, which will launch in late 2021. The instrument is composed of three detector units based on this technique and a detector service unit. Three mirror modules provided by Marshall Space Flight Center focus X-rays onto the detectors. We show the technological choices, their scientific motivation, and results from the calibration of the instrument. IXPE will perform imaging, timing, and energy-resolved polarimetry in the 2–8 keV energy band opening this window of X-ray astronomy to tens of celestial sources of almost all classes.

The Instrument of the Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer

Baldini, Luca;
2021-01-01

Abstract

While X-ray spectroscopy, timing, and imaging have improved much since 1962 when the first astronomical nonsolar source was discovered, especially wi the launch of the Newton/X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, Rossi/X-ray Timing Explorer, and Chandra/Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility, the progress of X-ray polarimetry has been meager. This is in part due to the lack of sensitive polarization detectors, which in turn is a result of the fate of approved missions and because celestial X-ray sources appear less polarized than expected. Only one positive measurement has been available until now: the Orbiting Solar Observatory measured the polarization of the Crab Nebula in the 1970s. The advent of microelectronics techniques has allowed for designing a detector based on the photoelectric effect of gas in an energy range where the optics are efficient at focusing in X-rays. Here we describe the instrument, which is the major contribution of the Italian collaboration to the Small Explorer mission called IXPE, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, which will launch in late 2021. The instrument is composed of three detector units based on this technique and a detector service unit. Three mirror modules provided by Marshall Space Flight Center focus X-rays onto the detectors. We show the technological choices, their scientific motivation, and results from the calibration of the instrument. IXPE will perform imaging, timing, and energy-resolved polarimetry in the 2–8 keV energy band opening this window of X-ray astronomy to tens of celestial sources of almost all classes.
2021
Soffitta, Paolo; Baldini, Luca; Bellazzini, Ronaldo; Costa, Enrico; Latronico, Luca; Muleri, Fabio; Del Monte, Ettore; Fabiani, Sergio; Minuti, Massim...espandi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1119991
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