Latest news

08-02-2017 - Athena and its high count rate capabilities

Talk given by D. Barret at the EXTP Conference in Roma (Feb 6-8th, 2017).

17-01-2017 - Improving the X-IFU count rate capability through defocussing

Defocussing of the Athena optics is now a requirement and can be considered in evaluating the count rate performance of the X-IFU. Defocussing spreads the source counts over a large number of pixels (1000). Each pixel can sustain a count rate of the order of 40-50 cps. A Crab like source would produce about 90 000 cps over the full TES array. Therefore it is obvious that with defocussing, the X-IFU is capable of observing bright point sources.

Broad band (0.2-12 keV) high resolution and total throughputs

Broad band (0.2-12 keV) high resolution and total throughputs

High throughput for mid and high resolution events (spectral resolution less than 10 eV) is certainly required around the Iron like between 5 and 8 keV. The use of Be filters would remove a large fraction of the soft photons and therefore reduce the overall count rate of point sources while preserving the interesting events above 5 keV. The X-IFU can achieve throughputs as high as 70% with maximum defocussing and the use of Be filter. The above number will reduce (by a few 10% at 1 Crab) if events affected by cross talk are removed.

The high+mid resolution event fraction in the 5-8 keV band.

The figures shown above are courtesy of Philippe Peille (December 2016), on behalf of the end-to-end simulator team.

10-01-2017 - Release of the January 2017 issue of the X-IFU Gazette

Thanks to Françoise Douchin, on behalf of the editorial team, I am please to announce the release of the January 2017 issue of the X-IFU Gazette.

Enjoy the reading. Don't hesitate to provide feedback to Françoise on the content of the X-IFU Gazette.

Best regards,

Françoise and Didier

05-01-2017 - Best wishes for 2017

On behalf of the X-IFU consortium, we would like to wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

We are clearly living through difficult times, so developing education, promoting culture and improving human knowledge should remain priorities for those intending to make our Earth a better place to live in. This is why your contribution to the development of the X-IFU is 
also important, as it will eventually lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of the whole Universe.

All the best and best regards,

Didier and Thien

20-12-2016 - Another round about the Sun

Message to X-IFU Consortium members:

2016 is coming to an end and looking back a lot has been accomplished by the X-IFU Consortium on all fronts. Implementing the Mission Consolidation Review recommendations, we now have a baseline configuration for the instrument, which is close to the ESA mass allocation. Thanks to the Concurrent Design Facility run on the Focal Plane Module held in October-November, we also have a  baseline configuration for the plateform which will host the two instruments and their thermal control systems. 

At mission level, we are given an additional two months to define a baseline which fits within the Ariane 64 lift off capability. Areas to make this possible have been clearly identified. Optimization of the payload/spacecraft configurations will likely be needed, but with the goal to preserve the performance capabilities of the mission. The phase A will proceed for at least another year.

Progresses are also being made on many of the technologies that will enable the X-IFU, as demonstrated during the first progress meeting. 

On the programmatic side, the two instrument leads and the Athena lead funding agencies have agreed on a draft science management plan. Consolidation of the member state and international contributions will receive more and more attention as we proceed, and this is expected to be a major activity for us in the months to come. 

As we move to 2017 (more than 3 years after the adoption of the Hot and Energetic Universe scientific theme already !), we would like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and your friends a merry Christmas and also a happy new year of health and happiness. 

Thanks and all the best,
Didier and Thien

14-11-2016 - X-IFU November 2016 meetings

An X-IFU Consortium Management Team meeting will take place at IRAP on Nov. 22-23rd, 2016. It will be followed by the first X-IFU progress meeting to be held at CNES under the leader of the project team.

15-10-2016 - X-IFU Gazette #1

The X-IFU Gazette issue #1 - October 2016 has been released. Enjoy the reading !

22-09-2016 - Athena and X-IFU presentation

Latest Athena and X-IFU presentation given at the Breaking the limits conference in Sardinia (Italy, September 2016). Click here to see the Athena and X-IFU presentation. Contact Didier Barret for any inquiries.

19-08-2016 - X-IFU related SPIE 2016 papers available