The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) is the cryogenic micro-calorimeter of the Athena space X-ray observatory, the second large mission of the Cosmic Vision Program of the European Space Agency, selected to explore the scientific theme “The Hot and Energetic Universe”. It is designed to 1) study the dynamical, physical and chemical properties of hot plasmas, as those found in clusters of galaxies, and 2) study black hole accretion disks, jets, outflows and winds from galactic stellar mass black holes to the super-massive ones found in active galactic nuclei. With its unprecedented capabilities, it is also the prime instrument for many Athena observatory science targets, such as planets, stars, supernovae, compact objects, interstellar medium among many other scientific topics.
X-IFU is a cryogenic imaging spectrometer, offering spatially-resolved high-spectral resolution X-ray spectroscopy over a 5 arc minute equivalent diameter field of view with spectral resolution of 2.5 eV up to 7 keV. The breadth of the science affordable with the X-IFU encompasses key scientific issues of the Hot and Energetic Universe science theme and beyond.
The Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) is proudly part of the X-IFU international consortium and of the instrument Science Advisory Team (XSAT), as well as the overall Athena team.
The Instrument Preliminary Requirement Review (IPRR) of the X-IFU has been declared successful by the joint ESA and CNES review board, on 2019 April the 11th. After 4 years of phase A, the X-IFU team is happy to move into the second phase of the project development. The phase B – the preliminary design phase – will start now, and is expected to end in late 2021, in time for the Athena Mission Adoption Review.
To celebrate this success, we are happy to share this video presenting the X-IFU instrument.
Read more about the X-IFU:
Barret et al., Proceedings of the SPIE, 2018, Volume 10699, id. 106991G (arXiv:1807.06092)