Instrument Development Group
Astrophysics Science Division - Instrument Development Group

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Instrument Development Group

    people building a telescope
  • We build instruments. The great success of our group is due in large part to the strong interaction between designers and users. The steady flow of new science results stimulates requirements for new missions and instruments.
  • Recent missions:
    • RXTE: Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer
    • Suzaku: Japanese-US high-resolution spectrometry mission
    • XQC: X-ray calorimeter sounding rocket program
  • Important capabilities:


  • Reasons for imaging
    • Provide high signal to noise
    • Resolve extended components, and
    • Obtain high throughput at reasonable cost
  • Conical Foils: Our mirror lab has pioneered the use of conical foils to provide high throughput, with moderate (arc minute) angular resolution. These mirrors have flown on
  • Future plans:
    • Larger high-resolution mirrors.1-meter class foil mirrors with 15 arc-second angular resolution.
    • Multilayers to enhance the hard X-ray performance of the foil mirrors
    • Large field of view focusing instruments to provide a new generation of sensitive all-sky-monitor and all-sky-survey missions.


  • What we can study with spectroscopy
    • Plasma diagnostics
    • Turbulence
    • Bulk motion
  • Missions
    • BBXRT: Si(Li) solid-state spectrometer
    • ASCA: Proportional counters and CCDs
    • X-ray quantum calorimeter array
    • XQC Microcalorimeters
  • Future missions


  • What we can study with timing
    • X-ray binaries
    • Pulsars
    • Quasi-Periodic Oscillations (QPOs)
    • Bursts
    • AGN variability
  • Missions
    • RXTE: 6500 cm2 of gas proportional counter with microsecond timing resolution.
    • MOXE