Thin absorbers for large-area soft X-ray microcalorimeters

L. Rocks*, M. B. Anderson, N. Bilgri, R. Brekosky, S. Gwynne Crowder, E. Figueroa-Feliciano, R. Kelley, C. A. Kilbourne, T. Lai, M. A. Lindeman, J. Man, D. McCammon, K. L. Nelms, F. S. Porter, S. Sivananthan, G. Vidugiris, J. Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The X-ray Quantum Calorimeter (XQC) sounding rocket experiment utilizes a microcalorimeter array for observing the diffuse soft X-ray background. Observations of such low surface-brightness targets require a large-area detector. We will be using an array of large absorbers. Good absorbers must rapidly and completely thermalize photons, have small heat capacity for high stopping efficiency and have good lateral thermal transport. For observing the soft X-ray background (energies <1 keV), the volume and heat capacity of absorber material can be kept to a minimum by making the absorbers only as thick as needed for high quantum efficiency at these low energies. These thin, large-area absorbers are not self-supporting and have poor lateral heat transport. Depositing the absorber material on a Si substrate provides support and improves lateral thermal conduction. We present heat capacity results for thin HgTe and thin Bi, each on Si substrates. We also describe the HgTe absorber fabrication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-452
Number of pages3
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 14 2006


  • Bi
  • Bismuth
  • HgTe
  • Mercury telluride
  • Microcalorimeters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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