The design and qualification of the GEMS X-ray polarimeters

J. E. Hill, R. G. Bakera, J. K. Blacka, M. J. Brownea, W. H. Baumgartner, Caldwell E.M. Caldwell, J. D. Cantwell, A. Davies, A. B. Desai, P. L. Dickens, N. K. Dobson, R. L. Foxwell, A. S. Francomacaro, D. Gall, K. J. Gregory, S. Griffiths, A. Hayato, R. O. Hampshire, T. Hwang, M. D. JhabvalaK. Jahoda, P. Kaaret, S. J. Lehtonen, N. F. Martin, J. S. Mohammed, K. Montt De Garcia, A. Morell, D. S. Nolan, R. E. Russell, M. A. Sampson, J. A. Sanders, K. Simms, M. J. Singer, J. H. Swank, T. Tamagawa, A. Weaver, S. N. Yerushalmi, J. J. Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Scopus citations


The Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (GEMS) will realize its scientific objectives through high sensitivity linear X-ray polarization measurements in the 2-10 keV band. The GEMS X-ray polarimeters, based on the photoelectric effect, provide a strong polarization response with high quantum efficiency over a broad band-pass by a novel implementation of the time projection chamber (TPC). This paper will discuss the basic principles of the TPC polarimeter and describe the details of the mechanical and electrical design of the GEMS flight polarimeter. We will present performance measurements from two GEMS engineering test units in response to polarized and unpolarized X-rays and before and after thermal and vibration tests performed to demonstrate that the design is at a technology readiness level 6 (TRL-6).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012
Subtitle of host publicationUltraviolet to Gamma Ray
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 1 2012Jul 6 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray


  • Di-methyl Ether
  • GEM
  • Gas Electron Multiplier
  • Gravity and Extreme Magnetism SMEX
  • Time-projection Chamber Polarimeter
  • X-ray Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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