Simple, compact, high-resolution monochromatic x-ray source for characterization of x-ray calorimeter arrays

14 Aug 2020  ·  Leutenegger M. A., Eckart M. E., Moseley S. J., Rohrbach S. O., Black J. K., Chiao M. P., Kelley R. L., Kilbourne C. A., Porter F. S. ·

X-ray calorimeters routinely achieve very high spectral resolution, typically a few eV full width at half maximum (FWHM). Measurements of calorimeter line shapes are usually dominated by the natural linewidth of most laboratory calibration sources... This compounds the data acquisition time necessary to statistically sample the instrumental line broadening, and can add systematic uncertainty if the intrinsic line shape of the source is not well known. To address these issues, we have built a simple, compact monochromatic x-ray source using channel cut crystals. A commercial x-ray tube illuminates a pair of channel cut crystals which are aligned in a dispersive configuration to select the \kaone line of the x-ray tube anode material. The entire device, including x-ray tube, can be easily hand carried by one person and may be positioned manually or using a mechanical translation stage. The output monochromatic beam provides a collimated image of the anode spot with magnification of unity in the dispersion direction (typically 100-200 $\mu$m for the x-ray tubes used here), and is unfocused in the cross-dispersion direction, so that the source image in the detector plane appears as a line. We measured output count rates as high as 10 count/s/pixel for the Hitomi Soft X-ray Spectrometer, which had 819 $\mu$m square pixels. We implemented different monochromator designs for energies of 5.4 keV (one design) and 8.0 keV (two designs) which have effective theoretical FWHM energy resolution of 0.125, 0.197, and 0.086 eV, respectively; these are well-suited for optimal calibration measurements of state-of-the art x-ray calorimeters. We measured an upper limit for the energy resolution of our \crkaone monochromator of 0.7 eV FWHM at 5.4 keV, consistent with the theoretical prediction of 0.125 eV. read more

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Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics Instrumentation and Detectors