ATHENA X-IFU thermal filters development status toward the end of the instrument phase-A

Ugo Lo Cicero, Giuseppe Lo Cicero, Salvatore Ferruggia Bonura, Antonino Buttacavoli, Marco Barbera, Luisa Sciortino, Francesco Cuttaia, Fabio D'Anca, Brian Jackson, Ugo Lo Cicero, Thien Lam Trong, Fabrizio Villa, Graziella Branduardi-Raymont, Philippe Peille, Giancarlo Parodi, Salvatore Ferruggia Bonura, Marco Barbera, Antonino Buttacavoli, Marco Barbera, Graziella Branduardi-RaymontSalvatore Varisco, Jan Willem Den Herder, Alfonso Collura, Roland Den Hartog, Massimo Cappi, Salvatore Sciortino, Gregor Rauw, Luigi Piro, Didier Barret, Marco Barbera, Roberto Candia, Gaspare Di Cicca, Jean-Michel Mesnager

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) is one of the two instruments of the Athena astrophysics space mission approved by ESA in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Science Programme. The X-IFU consists of a large array of transition edge sensor micro-calorimeters that will operate at ∼100 mK inside a sophisticated cryostat. A set of thin filters, highly transparent to X-rays, will be mounted on the opening windows of the cryostat thermal shields in order to attenuate the IR radiative load, to attenuate radio frequency electromagnetic interferences, and to protect the detector from contamination. Thermal filters are critical items in the proper operation of the X-IFU detector in space. They need to be strong enough to survive the launch stresses but very thin to be highly transparent to X-rays. They essentially define the detector quantum efficiency at low energies and are fundamental to make the photon shot noise a negligible contribution to the energy resolution budget. In this paper, we review the main results of modeling and characterization tests of the thermal filters performed during the phase A study to identify the suitable materials, optimize the design, and demonstrate that the chosen technology can reach the proper readiness before mission adoption.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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