The High Energy Telescope on EXIST

Proc SPIE 09/2009; DOI: 10.1117/12.826540
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT The Energetic X-ray Imaging Survey Telescope (EXIST) is a proposed next generation multi-wavelength survey mission. The primary instrument is a High Energy telescope (HET) that conducts the deepest survey for Gamma-ray Bursts (GRBs), obscured-accreting and dormant Supermassive Black Holes and Transients of all varieties for immediate followup studies by the two secondary instruments: a Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) and an Optical/Infrared Telescope (IRT). EXIST will explore the early Universe using high redshift GRBs as cosmic probes and survey black holes on all scales. The HET is a coded aperture telescope employing a large array of imaging CZT detectors (4.5 m^2, 0.6 mm pixel) and a hybrid Tungsten mask. We review the current HET concept which follows an intensive design revision by the HET imaging working group and the recent engineering studies in the Instrument and Mission Design Lab at the Goddard Space Flight Center. The HET will locate GRBs and transients quickly (<10-30 sec) and accurately (< 20") for rapid (< 1-3 min) onboard followup soft X-ray and optical/IR (0.3-2.2 micron) imaging and spectroscopy. The broad energy band (5-600 keV) and the wide field of view (~90 deg x 70 deg at 10% coding fraction) are optimal for capturing GRBs, obscured AGNs and rare transients. The continuous scan of the entire sky every 3 hours will establish a finely-sampled long-term history of many X-ray sources, opening up new possibilities for variability studies. Comment: 10 pages, 6 figures, 3 tables, SPIE conference proceedings (UV, X-ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XVI, 7435-9)

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    ABSTRACT: The primary instrument of the proposed EXIST mission is a coded mask high energy telescope (the HET), that must have a wide field of view and extremely good sensitivity. It will be crucial to minimize systematic errors so that even for very long total integration times the imaging performance is close to the statistical photon limit. There is also a requirement to be able to reconstruct images on-board in near real time in order to detect and localize gamma-ray bursts. This must be done while the spacecraft is scanning the sky. The scanning provides all-sky coverage and is key to reducing systematic errors. The on-board computational problem is made even more challenging for EXIST by the very large number of detector pixels. Numerous alternative designs for the HET have been evaluated. The baseline concept adopted depends on a unique coded mask with two spatial scales. Monte Carlo simulations and analytic analysis techniques have been used to demonstrate the capabilities of the design and of the proposed two-step burst localization procedure.
    Proc SPIE 02/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: {\it ProtoEXIST1} is a pathfinder for the {\it EXIST-HET}, a coded aperture hard X-ray telescope with a 4.5 m$^2$ CZT detector plane a 90$\times$70 degree field of view to be flown as the primary instrument on the {\it EXIST} mission and is intended to monitor the full sky every 3 h in an effort to locate GRBs and other high energy transients. {\it ProtoEXIST1} consists of a 256 cm$^2$ tiled CZT detector plane containing 4096 pixels composed of an 8$\times$8 array of individual 1.95 cm $\times$ 1.95 cm $\times$ 0.5 cm CZT detector modules each with a 8 $\times$ 8 pixilated anode configured as a coded aperture telescope with a fully coded $10^\circ\times10^\circ$ field of view employing passive side shielding and an active CsI anti-coincidence rear shield, recently completed its maiden flight out of Ft. Sumner, NM on the 9th of October 2009. During the duration of its 6 hour flight on-board calibration of the detector plane was carried out utilizing a single tagged 198.8 nCi Am-241 source along with the simultaneous measurement of the background spectrum and an observation of Cygnus X-1. Here we recount the events of the flight and report on the detector performance in a near space environment. We also briefly discuss {\it ProtoEXIST2}: the next stage of detector development which employs the {\it NuSTAR} ASIC enabling finer (32$\times$32) anode pixilation. When completed {\it ProtoEXIST2} will consist of a 256 cm$^2$ tiled array and be flown simultaneously with the ProtoEXIST1 telescope.
    Proc SPIE 09/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The epochs of origin of the first stars and galaxies, and subsequent growth of the first supermassive black holes, are among the most fundamental questions. Observations of the highest redshift Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) will be the most compelling in situ probe of the history of initial star formation and consequent epoch of reionization if their prompt and precise detection can be followed immediately by sensitive near-IR imaging and spectroscopy. Blazars are the persistent analogs of GRBs and for the same reason (beaming) can be observed at highest redshifts where they might best trace the high accretion rate-driven jets and growth of supermassive black holes in galaxies. The proposed EXIST mission can uniquely probe these questions, and many others, given its unparalled combination of sensitivity and spatial-spectral-temporal coverage and resolution. Here we provide a brief summary of the mission design, key science objectives, mission plan and readiness for EXIST, as proposed to Astro2010. Comment: 6 pages, 4 figures. Invited talk at conference "X-ray Astronomy 2009: Present status, multiwavelength approach and future perspectives", September 2009, Bologna. To appear in AIP Conf. Proc. (editors: A. Comastri, M. Cappi, L. Angelini). Revised (v2) version corrects some references.

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