Mitigation strategies against radiation-induced background for space astronomy missions

Davis, Chris; Hall, David; Keelan, Jonathan; Holland, Andrew; O'Farrell, James and Leese, Mark (2018). Mitigation strategies against radiation-induced background for space astronomy missions. Journal of Instrumentation, 13(1)



The Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics (ATHENA) mission is a major upcoming space-based X-ray observatory due to be launched in 2028 by ESA, with the purpose of mapping the early universe and observing black holes. Background radiation is expected to constitute a large fraction of the total system noise in the Wide Field Imager (WFI) instrument on ATHENA, and designing an effective system to reduce the background radiation impacting the WFI will be crucial for maximising its sensitivity. Significant background sources are expected to include high energy protons, X-ray fluorescence lines, `knock-on' electrons and Compton electrons. Due to the variety of the different background sources, multiple shielding methods may be required to achieve maximum sensitivity in the WFI. These techniques may also be of great interest for use in future space-based X-ray experiments. Simulations have been developed to model the effect of a graded-Z shield on the X-ray fluorescence background. In addition the effect of a 90nm optical blocking filter on the secondary electron background has been investigated and shown to modify the requirements of any secondary electron shielding that is to be used.

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