M. Feroci

Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trient, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

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Publications (778)1322.52 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The technology of Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs) has been selected for the two instruments aboard the Large Observatory For X-ray Timing (LOFT) space mission. LOFT underwent a three year long assessment phase as candidate for the M3 launch opportunity within the "Cosmic Vision 2015 -- 2025" long-term science plan of the European Space Agency. During the LOFT assessment phase, we studied the displacement damage produced in the SDDs by the protons trapped in the Earth's magnetosphere. In a previous paper we discussed the effects of the Non Ionising Energy Losses from protons on the SDD leakage current. In this paper we report the measurement of the variation of Charge Collection Efficiency produced by displacement damage caused by protons and the comparison with the expected damage in orbit.
    Journal of Instrumentation 03/2015; 10(05). DOI:10.1088/1748-0221/10/05/P05002 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This is a White Paper in support of the mission concept of the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing (LOFT), proposed as a medium-sized ESA mission. We discuss the potential of LOFT for the study of gamma-ray bursts. For a summary, we refer to the paper.
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    ABSTRACT: LOFT (Large Observatory for X-ray Timing) is an X-ray timing observatory that, with four other candidates, was considered by ESA as an M3 mission (with launch in 2022-2024) and has been studied during an extensive assessment phase. Its pointed instrument is the Large Area Detector (LAD), a 10 m 2 -class instrument operating in the 2-30 keV range, which is designed to perform X-ray timing of compact objects with unprecedented resolution down to millisecond time scales. Although LOFT was not downselected for launch, during the assessment most of the trade-offs have been closed, leading to a robust and well documented design that will be reproposed in future ESA calls. The building block of the LAD instrument is the Module, and in this paper we summarize the rationale for the module concept, the characteristics of the module and the trade-offs/optimisations which have led to the current design.
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    ABSTRACT: The Large Observatory for X-ray Timing (LOFT) is one of the five candidates that were considered by ESA as an M3 mission (with launch in 2022-2024). It is specifically designed to exploit the diagnostics of very rapid X-ray flux and spectral variability that directly probe the motion of matter down to distances very close to black holes and neutron stars, as well as the physical state of ultradense matter. The LOFT scientific payload is composed of the Large Area Detector (LAD), devoted to spectral-timing observation, and the Wide Field Monitor (WFM), whose primary goal it is to monitor the X-ray sky for transient events that need to be followed up with the LAD, and to measure the long-term variability of galactic X-ray sources and localize gamma-ray bursts. Here we describe the simulations carried out to optimize the WFM design and to characterize the instrument response to both isolated sources and crowded fields in the proximity of the galactic bulge.
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    ABSTRACT: LOFT, the Large Observatory For X-ray Timing, was one of the ESA M3 mission candidates that completed their assessment phase at the end of 2013. LOFT is equipped with two instruments, the Large Area Detector (LAD) and the Wide Field Monitor (WFM). The LAD performs pointed observations of several targets per orbit (~90 minutes), providing roughly ~80 GB of proprietary data per day (the proprietary period will be 12 months). The WFM continuously monitors about 1/3 of the sky at a time and provides data for about ~100 sources a day, resulting in a total of ~20 GB of additional telemetry. The LOFT Burst alert System additionally identifies on-board bright impulsive events (e.g., Gamma-ray Bursts, GRBs) and broadcasts the corresponding position and trigger time to the ground using a dedicated system of ~15 VHF receivers. All WFM data are planned to be made public immediately. In this contribution we summarize the planned organization of the LOFT ground segment (GS), as established in the mission Yellow Book 1 . We describe the expected GS contributions from ESA and the LOFT consortium. A review is provided of the planned LOFT data products and the details of the data flow, archiving and distribution. Despite LOFT was not selected for launch within the M3 call, its long assessment phase (> 2 years) led to a very solid mission design and an efficient planning of its ground operations.
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the development and characterization of the low-noise, low power, mixed analog-digital SIRIUS ASICs for both the LAD and WFM X-ray instruments of LOFT. The ASICs we developed are reading out large area silicon drift detectors (SDD). Stringent requirements in terms of noise (ENC of 17 e- to achieve an energy resolution on the LAD of 200 eV FWHM at 6 keV) and power consumption (650 {\mu}W per channel) were basis for the ASICs design. These SIRIUS ASICs are developed to match SDD detectors characteristics: 16 channels ASICs adapted for the LAD (970 microns pitch) and 64 channels for the WFM (145 microns pitch) will be fabricated. The ASICs were developed with the 180nm mixed technology of TSMC.
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    ABSTRACT: The space mission LOFT (Large Observatory For X-ray Timing) was selected in 2011 by ESA as one of the candidates for the M3 launch opportunity. LOFT is equipped with two instruments, the Large Area Detector (LAD) and the Wide Field Monitor (WFM), based on Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs). In orbit, they would be exposed to hyper-velocity impacts by environmental dust particles, which might alter the surface properties of the SDDs. In order to assess the risk posed by these events, we performed simulations in ESABASE2 and laboratory tests. Tests on SDD prototypes aimed at verifying to what extent the structural damages produced by impacts affect the SDD functionality have been performed at the Van de Graaff dust accelerator at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg. For the WFM, where we expect a rate of risky impacts notably higher than for the LAD, we designed, simulated and successfully tested at the plasma accelerator at the Technical University in Munich (TUM) a double-wall shielding configuration based on thin foils of Kapton and Polypropylene. In this paper we summarize all the assessment, focussing on the experimental test campaign at TUM.
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    ABSTRACT: The Large Observatory for X-ray Timing (LOFT) was one of the M3 missions selected for the phase A study in the ESA's Cosmic Vision program. LOFT is designed to perform high-time-resolution X-ray observations of black holes and neutron stars. The main instrument on the LOFT payload is the Large Area Detector (LAD), a collimated experiment with a nominal effective area of ~10 m 2 @ 8 keV, and a spectral resolution of ~240 eV in the energy band 2-30 keV. These performances are achieved covering a large collecting area with more than 2000 large-area Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs) each one coupled to a collimator based on lead-glass micro-channel plates. In order to reduce the thermal load onto the detectors, which are open to Sky, and to protect them from out of band radiation, optical-thermal filter will be mounted in front of the SDDs. Different options have been considered for the LAD filters for best compromise between high quantum efficiency and high mechanical robustness. We present the baseline design of the optical-thermal filters, show the nominal performances, and present preliminary test results performed during the phase A study.
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    ABSTRACT: During the three years long assessment phase of the LOFT mission, candidate to the M3 launch opportunity of the ESA Cosmic Vision programme, we estimated and measured the radiation damage of the silicon drift detectors (SDDs) of the satellite instrumentation. In particular, we irradiated the detectors with protons (of 0.8 and 11 MeV energy) to study the increment of leakage current and the variation of the charge collection efficiency produced by the displacement damage, and we "bombarded" the detectors with hypervelocity dust grains to measure the effect of the debris impacts. In this paper we describe the measurements and discuss the results in the context of the LOFT mission.
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    ABSTRACT: LOFT (Large Observatory for X-ray Timing) is one of the five candidates that were considered by ESA as an M3 mission (with launch in 2022-2024) and has been studied during an extensive assessment phase. It is specifically designed to perform fast X-ray timing and probe the status of the matter near black holes and neutron stars. Its pointed instrument is the Large Area Detector (LAD), a 10 m 2 -class instrument operating in the 2-30keV range, which holds the capability to revolutionise studies of variability from X-ray sources on the millisecond time scales. The LAD instrument has now completed the assessment phase but was not down-selected for launch. However, during the assessment, most of the trade-offs have been closed leading to a robust and well documented design that will be re- proposed in future ESA calls. In this talk, we will summarize the characteristics of the LAD design and give an overview of the expectations for the instrument capabilities.
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    ABSTRACT: LOFT (Large Observatory For x-ray Timing) is one of the ESA M3 missions selected within the Cosmic Vision program in 2011 to carry out an assessment phase study and compete for a launch opportunity in 2022-2024. The phase-A studies of all M3 missions were completed at the end of 2013. LOFT is designed to carry on-board two instruments with sensitivity in the 2-50 keV range: a 10 m 2 class Large Area Detector (LAD) with a <1{\deg} collimated FoV and a wide field monitor (WFM) making use of coded masks and providing an instantaneous coverage of more than 1/3 of the sky. The prime goal of the WFM will be to detect transient sources to be observed by the LAD. However, thanks to its unique combination of a wide field of view (FoV) and energy resolution (better than 500 eV), the WFM will be also an excellent monitoring instrument to study the long term variability of many classes of X-ray sources. The WFM consists of 10 independent and identical coded mask cameras arranged in 5 pairs to provide the desired sky coverage. We provide here an overview of the instrument design, configuration, and capabilities of the LOFT WFM. The compact and modular design of the WFM could easily make the instrument concept adaptable for other missions.
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the GRB and All-sky Monitor Experiment (GAME) mission submitted by a large international collaboration (Italy, Germany, Czech Repubblic, Slovenia, Brazil) in response to the 2012 ESA call for a small mission opportunity for a launch in 2017 and presently under further investigation for subsequent opportunities. The general scientific objective is to perform measurements of key importance for GRB science and to provide the wide astrophysical community of an advanced X-ray all-sky monitoring system. The proposed payload was based on silicon drift detectors (~1-50 keV), CdZnTe (CZT) detectors (~15-200 keV) and crystal scintillators in phoswich (NaI/CsI) configuration (~20 keV-20 MeV), three well established technologies, for a total weight of ~250 kg and a required power of ~240 W. Such instrumentation allows a unique, unprecedented and very powerful combination of large field of view (3-4 sr), a broad energy energy band extending from ~1 keV up to ~20 MeV, an energy resolution as good as ~300 eV in the 1-30 keV energy range, a source location accuracy of ~1 arcmin. The mission profile included a launch (e.g., by Vega) into a low Earth orbit, a baseline sky scanning mode plus pointed observations of regions of particular interest, data transmission to ground via X-band (4.8 Gb/orbit, Alcantara and Malindi ground stations), and prompt transmission of GRB / transient triggers.
    International Journal of Modern Physics D 07/2014; 23(06). DOI:10.1142/S0218271814300109 · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A large area, 120 × 72 mm2, linear Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) has been developed for X-ray spectroscopy in the 2-50 keV energy range. Elaborated via a number of prototypes, the final detector design, REDSOX1, features elements to meet the requirements of a modern space-borne X-ray detector with a power consumption per sensitive area below 0.5 mW/cm2, offering the possibility to perform timing and spectroscopy X-ray observations on a ten microseconds scale.
    Journal of Instrumentation 07/2014; 9(07):P07014. DOI:10.1088/1748-0221/9/07/P07014 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Solid-state detectors that operate in orbit are required to withstand harsh space environment conditions. Among the various phenomena able to damage the sensors, X-ray detectors are subjected to impacts of orbital debris and micrometeoroids whenever, to be sensitive to low energy photons, they need to be ``directly'' exposed to the sky. The LOFT mission, proposed for the M3 class opportunity of the ESA Cosmic Vision, has a very-large sensitive area (greater than 10 m2) made of Silicon Drift Detectors (SDD). Moreover, the satellite includes an X-ray Wide-Field Monitor based on the same SDD detectors. Here we present the results of a test campaign at the Cosmic Dust Accelerator Facility at MPIK in Heidelberg aimed at the space qualification of the detectors with respect to this phenomenon.
    Journal of Instrumentation 07/2014; 9(07):P07015. DOI:10.1088/1748-0221/9/07/P07015 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low-noise, position-sensitive Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs) are particularly useful for experiments in which a good energy resolution combined with a large sensitive area is required, as in the case of X-ray astronomy space missions and medical applications. This paper presents the experimental characterization of VEGA, a custom Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) used as the front-end electronics for XDXL-2, a large-area (30.5 cm^2) SDD prototype. The ASICs were integrated on a specifically developed PCB hosting also the detector. Results on the ASIC noise performances, both stand-alone and bonded to the large area SDD, are presented and discussed.
    Journal of Instrumentation 07/2014; 9(08). DOI:10.1088/1748-0221/9/08/P08008 · 1.53 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Instrumentation 06/2014; · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The silicon drift detectors are at the basis of the instrumentation aboard the {Large Observatory For x-ray Timing} (LOFT) satellite mission, which underwent a three year assessment phase within the "Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025" long-term science plan of the European Space Agency. Silicon detectors are especially sensitive to the displacement damage, produced by the non ionising energy losses of charged and neutral particles, leading to an increase of the device leakage current and thus worsening the spectral resolution. During the LOFT assessment phase, we irradiated two silicon drift detectors with a proton beam at the Proton Irradiation Facility in the accelerator of the Paul Scherrer Institute and we measured the increase in leakage current. In this paper we report the results of the irradiation and we discuss the impact of the radiation damage on the LOFT scientific performance.
    Journal of Instrumentation 05/2014; 9(07). DOI:10.1088/1748-0221/9/07/P07016 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low-inclination, low altitude Earth orbits (LEO) are of increasing importance for astrophysical satellites, due to their low background environment. Here, the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) is the region with the highest amount of radiation. We study the radiation environment in a LEO (500-600 km altitude, 4 degrees inclination) through the particle background measured by the Particle Monitor (PM) experiment onboard the BeppoSAX satellite, between 1996 and 2002. Using time series of particle count rates measured by PM we construct intensity maps and derive SAA passage times and fluences. The low-latitude SAA regions are found to have an intensity strongly decreasing with altitude and dependent on the magnetic rigidity. The SAA extent, westward drift and strength vs altitude is shown.
    Experimental Astronomy 05/2014; 37(3). DOI:10.1007/s10686-014-9394-1 · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), named VEGA-1, designed and manufactured for low-power analog pulse processing of signals from Silicon Drift Detectors (SDDs). The VEGA-1 ASIC consists of an analog and a digital/mixed-signal section to achieve all the functionalities and specifications required for high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy in the energy range from 500 eV to 60 keV with low power consumption. The VEGA-1 ASIC has been designed and manufactured in 0.35-?m CMOS mixed-signal technology in single and 32-channel version with dimensions of 200??m × 500??m per channel. A minimum intrinsic ENC of 12 electrons r.m.s. at 3.6 ?s shaping time and room temperature is measured for the ASIC without detector. The VEGA-1 has been tested with Q10-SDD designed in Trieste and fabricated at FBK, with an active area of 10 mm2 and a thickness of 450 ?m. The aforementioned detector has an anode current of about 180 pA at +22?C. A minimum Equivalent Noise Charge (ENC) of 16 electrons r.m.s. at 3.0 ?s shaping time and ?30?C has been demonstrated with a total measured power consumption of 482 ?W.
    Journal of Instrumentation 03/2014; 9(03):C03036. DOI:10.1088/1748-0221/9/03/C03036 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Large Observatory For X-ray Timing (LOFT) is one of the candidate missions selected by the European Space Agency for an initial assessment phase in the Cosmic Vision programme. It is proposed for the M3 launch slot and has broad scientific goals related to fast timing of astrophysical X-ray sources. LOFT will carry the Large Area Detector (LAD), as one of the two core science instruments, necessary to achieve the challenging objectives of the project. LAD is a collimated detector working in the energy range 2-50 keV with an effective area of approximately 10 m^2 at 8 keV. The instrument comprises an array of modules located on deployable panels. Lead-glass microchannel plate (MCP) collimators are located in front of the large-area Silicon Drift Detectors (SDD) to reduce the background contamination from off-axis resolved point sources and from the diffuse X-ray background. The inner walls of the microchannel plate pores reflect grazing incidence X-ray photons with a probability that depends on energy. In this paper, we present a study performed with an ad-hoc simulator of the effects of this capillary reflectivity on the overall instrument performance. The reflectivity is derived from a limited set of laboratory measurements, used to constrain the model. The measurements were taken using a prototype collimator whose thickness is similar to that adopted in the current baseline design proposed for the LAD. We find that the experimentally measured level of reflectivity of the pore inner walls enhances the off-axis transmission at low energies, producing an almost flat-top response. The resulting background increase due to the diffuse cosmic X-ray emission and sources within the field of view does not degrade the instrument sensitivity.
    Experimental Astronomy 01/2014; 37(1). DOI:10.1007/s10686-013-9368-8 · 2.66 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
1,322.52 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Fondazione Bruno Kessler
      Trient, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
    • Policlinico Tor Vergata
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • University of Tuebingen
      • Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2006–2014
    • University of Rome Tor Vergata
      • Dipartimento di Fisica
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2013
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2002–2013
    • Universita degli studi di Ferrara
      • Department of Physics and Earth Sciences
      Ferrare, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
    • Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2012
    • Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Planetary Sciences
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 2011
    • ASI Science Data Centre
      Frascati, Latium, Italy
  • 2008–2011
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • Department of Physics
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1993–2011
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      • Institute of Space Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics IASF - Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2010
    • Purdue University
      • Department of Physics
      West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
  • 2003–2010
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      • Department of Physics
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 1992–2008
    • National Research Council
      • Institute of Inorganic Methodologies and Plasmas IMIP
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2007
    • University of Pavia
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2005
    • University of Padova
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
    • Liverpool John Moores University
      Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004
    • Utrecht University
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 1996–2004
    • INO - Istituto Nazionale di Ottica
      Florens, Tuscany, Italy
  • 1999–2001
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Space Sciences Laboratory
      Berkeley, California, United States
  • 2000
    • University of Alabama in Huntsville
      • Department of Physics
      Huntsville, Alabama, United States
  • 1994
    • Columbia University
      New York, New York, United States