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Development of Hard X-ray Imaging Detectors for the High Energy Focusing Telescope


Chen, Chi Ming Hubert (2008) Development of Hard X-ray Imaging Detectors for the High Energy Focusing Telescope. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/A2DS-N675.


The High Energy Focusing Telescope (HEFT) is a balloon-borne instrument carrying one of the first focusing telescopes for the hard X-ray band (20–70 keV). It makes use of tungsten-silicon multilayer coatings to extend the reflectivity of nested grazing-incidence mirrors beyond 10 keV. It also carries novel semiconductor pixel detectors on its focal planes to match the capabilities of the multilayer mirrors. After a decade of research and development, we achieve with HEFT an angular resolution of 1.5 arcminutes in half-power diameter, and an energy resolution of 1.0 keV full width at half maximum at 60 keV. We launched HEFT for a 25-hour balloon flight in May, 2005; the instrument performed within specification, and observed Cyg X-1, the Crab Nebula, and other celestial hard X-ray sources.

In this thesis, I lay out the scientific motivations for HEFT, and give an overview of the experiment. I report on our detector development effort in depth, and document the balloon flight of 2005. I also describe a study of two relic radio sources, 0917+75 and 1401−33, with data from the soft X-ray XMM-Newton observatory. With a hard X-ray focusing telescope like HEFT, one can improve the sensitivity and extend the scope of such studies to other classes of objects.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Cadmium zinc telluride radiation detectors; Galaxies magnetic fields; Radiation detector circuits; Radiation mechanisms inverse Compton scattering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Awards:Everhart Distinguished Graduate Student Lecturer Award, 2008.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Harrison, Fiona A.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory, Astronomy Department
Thesis Committee:
  • Harrison, Fiona A. (chair)
  • Filippone, Bradley W.
  • Zmuidzinas, Jonas
  • Kamionkowski, Marc P.
Defense Date:10 January 2008
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-04202008-135222
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1428
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:20 May 2008
Last Modified:10 Mar 2020 19:28

Thesis Files

PDF (chen2008thesis.pdf) - Final Version
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