The Athena X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU)

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

93 Citations (Scopus)


TheX-rayIntegralFieldUnit(X-IFU)onboardtheAdvancedTelescopeforHigh-ENergyAstrophysics(Athena)will provide spatially resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy from 0.2 to 12 keV, with∼ 5” pixels over a field of view of 5 arc minute equivalent diameter and a spectral resolution of 2.5 eV up to 7 keV. In this paper, we first review the core scientific objectives of Athena, driving the main performance parameters of the X-IFU, namely the spectral resolution, the field of view, the effective area, the count rate capabilities, the instrumental background. WealsoillustratethebreakthroughpotentialoftheX-IFUforsomeobservatorysciencegoals. Then we briefly describe the X-IFU design as defined at the time of the mission consolidation review concluded in May 2016, and report on its predicted performance. Finally, we discuss some options to improve the instrument performance while not increasing its complexity and resource demands (e.g. count rate capability, spectral resolution).The X-IFU will be provided by an international consortium led by France, The Netherlands and Italy, withfurther ESA member state contributions from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and two international partners from the United States and Japan.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series


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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