The microcalorimeter X-ray detector: A true paradigm shift in X-ray spectroscopy
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899, USA
2 National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO, 80305, USA
3 Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98105, USA
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The microcalorimeter x-ray detector registers the heat deposited in an absorber from individual x-ray photons by means of a sensitive thermometer. It combines advantages of wavelength-dispersive and energy-dispersive detectors: relatively high energy resolution over a broad energy spectrum. Operating at very low temperatures reduces the noise, making the high energy resolution possible. The absorber can be tailored to any energy range, from soft x-rays to gamma rays. After many years of development, several designs have reached a level of performance and reliability that makes them competitive x-ray detectors for many kinds of experiment. We survey current microcalorimeter detectors using several different thermometers. Their applications already run from chemical analysis to plasma physics and x-ray astronomy. We describe two examples of how the microcalorimeter detector can enable novel determinations in x-ray physics.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2009