Design, implementation, and performance of the Astro-H SXS calorimeter array and anticoincidence detector

Caroline A. Kilbourne, Joseph S. Adams, Regis P. Brekosky, James A. Chervenak, Meng P. Chiao, Megan E. Eckart, Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, Masimilliano Galeazzi, Christoph Grein, Christine A. Jhabvala, Daniel Kelly, Maurice A. Leutenegger, Dan McCammon, F. Scott Porter, Andrew E. Szymkowiak, Tomomi Watanabe, Jun Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The calorimeter array of the JAXA Astro-H (renamed Hitomi) soft x-ray spectrometer (SXS) was designed to provide unprecedented spectral resolution of spatially extended cosmic x-ray sources and of all cosmic x-ray sources in the Fe-K band around 6 keV, enabling essential plasma diagnostics. The SXS had a square array of 36 x-ray calorimeters at the focal plane. These calorimeters consisted of ion-implanted silicon thermistors and HgTe thermalizing x-ray absorbers. These devices demonstrated a resolution of better than 4.5 eV at 6 keV when operated at a heat-sink temperature of 50 mK. We will discuss the basic physical parameters of this array, including the array layout, thermal conductance of the link to the heat sink, resistance function, absorber details, and means of attaching the absorber to the thermistor-bearing element. We will also present the thermal characterization of the whole array, including thermal conductance and crosstalk measurements and the results of pulsing the frame temperature via alpha particles, heat pulses, and the environmental background. A silicon ionization detector was located behind the calorimeter array and served to reject events due to cosmic rays. We will briefly describe this anticoincidence detector and its performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011214
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Astro-H
  • Hitomi
  • anticoincidence detector
  • microcalorimeter
  • x-ray calorimeter
  • x-ray spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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