Development of arrays of position-sensitive microcalorimeters for Constellation-X

Stephen J. Smith, Simon R. Bandler, Regis P. Brekosky, Ari D. Brown, James A. Chervenak, Megan E. Eckart, Enectali Eigueroa-Feliciano, Fred M. Finkbeiner, Richard L. Kelley, Caroline A. Kilbourne, F. Scott Porter, John E. Sadleir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


We are developing arrays of position-sensitive transition-edge sensor (PoST) X-ray detectors for future astronomy missions such as NASA's Constellation-X. The PoST consists of multiple absorbers thermally coupled to one or more transition-edge sensor (TES). Each absorber element has a different thermal coupling to the TES. This results in a distribution of different pulse shapes and enables position discrimination between the absorber elements. PoST's are motivated by the desire to achieve the largest possible focal plane area with the fewest number of readout channels and are ideally suited to increasing the Constellation-X focal plane area, without comprising on spatial sampling. Optimizing the performance of PoST's requires careful design of key parameters such as the thermal conductances between the absorbers, TES and the heat sink, as well as the absorber heat capacities. Our new generation of PoST's utilizes technology successfully developed on high resolution (∼ 2.5 eV) single pixels arrays of Mo/Au TESs, also under development for Constellation-X. This includes noise mitigation features on the TES and low resistivity electroplated absorbers. We report on the first experimental results from new one-channel, four-pixel, PoST's or 'Hydras', consisting of composite Au/Bi absorbers. We have achieved full-width-at-half-maximum energy resolution of between 5-6 eV on all four Hydra pixels with an exponential decay time constant of 620 μs. Straightforward position discrimination by means of rise time is also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008
Subtitle of host publicationUltraviolet to Gamma Ray
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray - Marseille, France
Duration: Jun 23 2008Jun 28 2008


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray


  • Constellation-X
  • Imaging array
  • Microcalorimeter
  • Position-sensitive detector
  • Transition-edge sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Development of arrays of position-sensitive microcalorimeters for Constellation-X'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this