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Development of the imager for the Micro Solar-Flare Apparatus (MiSolFA)

English title Development of the imager for the Micro Solar-Flare Apparatus (MiSolFA)
Applicant Krucker Samuel
Number 163377
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz Hochschule für Technik
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (without UTE) - FHNW
Main discipline Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences
Start/End 01.10.2015 - 30.09.2020
Approved amount 460'966.00
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Keywords (5)

Space instrumentation; Solar flares; X-ray; Indirect imaging system; micro-satellite

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
Il gruppo di ricerca in fisica solare della FHNW è leader mondiale nello sviluppo di sistemi per ottenere immagini a raggi X in modo indiretto, sfruttabili per scopi scientifici in missioni spaziali. Tra i sistemi già sviluppati ci sono quelli che equipaggiano la missione RHESSI della NASA, che opera in orbita dal 2002, e lo strumento STIX della missione Solar Orbiter di ESA, che verrà lanciato dalla NASA nel 2018.
Lay summary

Questo nuovo progetto spinge la tecnologia ben oltre i limiti attuali, con lo scopo di produrre un rivelatore di raggi X estremamente compatto, che possa essere operato a bordo di un piccolo micro-satellite, che verrà lanciato con il supporto dell'Agenzia Spaziale Italiana nel 2020.  In questo progetto verranno sviluppate nuove griglie assorbenti per raggi X, con periodi tanto piccoli quanto un quinto del diametro di un capello (10 micron), in modo da poter ottenere risoluzioni angolari simili a STIX negli angusti limiti di spazio disponibile in un micro-satellite (10cmx10cmx30cm).  Se verrà adottata in una missione di dimensioni "regolari", la nuova tecnologia permetterà inoltre di migliorare la risoluzione per un fattore 10, permettendo di risolvere strutture fini sul Sole (fino a 150 km, ovvero 0.2 secondi d'arco).  Oltre ad aprire una nuova frontiera nell'astrofisica a raggi X, lo sviluppo di tali griglie avrà anche importanti ricadute sull'industria svizzera, com applicazioni nel campo della radiografia a contrasto di fase, la quale ha un mercato potenziale enorme.


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 06.10.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
GOES class estimation for behind-the-limb solar flares using MESSENGER SAX
LastufkaErica, GOES class estimation for behind-the-limb solar flares using MESSENGER SAX, in Astrophycial Journal.
Measuring X-ray anisotropy in solar flares. Prospective stereoscopic capabilities of STIX and MiSolFA
Casadei Diego, Measuring X-ray anisotropy in solar flares. Prospective stereoscopic capabilities of STIX and MiSolFA, in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Multiwavelength Stereoscopic Observation of the 2013 May 1 Solar Flare and CME
Lastufka Erica, Multiwavelength Stereoscopic Observation of the 2013 May 1 Solar Flare and CME, in Astrophysical Journal.
The Micro Solar Flare Apparatus (MiSolFA) instrument concept
Lastufka Erica, The Micro Solar Flare Apparatus (MiSolFA) instrument concept, in Advances in Space Research.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
CMT Rickenbach SA Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
CEA Saclay France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Microworks, Karlsruhe Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
IMT Srl, Roma Italy (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
University of Genova Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Italian Space Agengy (ASI) Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
3rd Swiss SCOSTEP Workshop Talk given at a conference MiSolFa 06.03.2019 Davos, Switzerland Lastufka Erica;
INSPIRE Small Satellite Workshop Talk given at a conference MiSolFa 27.08.2018 Paris, France Lastufka Erica;
17th RHESSI Workshop Talk given at a conference Multiwavelength Stereoscopic Observation of the May 1, 2013 Solar Flare and CME 18.06.2018 Dublin, Ireland Lastufka Erica;
48th Solar Physics Division meeting of the American Astronomical Society Talk given at a conference MiSolFa 21.08.2017 Portland, OR, United States of America Lastufka Erica;
16th RHESSI Workshop Talk given at a conference MiSolFA 19.06.2017 Boulder, Co, United States of America Lastufka Erica;
15th RHESSI Workshop Talk given at a conference MiSolFA 16.07.2016 Graz, Austria Casadei Diego;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
189180 Solar Orbiter STIX 01.04.2020 Project funding (Div. I-III)
189662 Advanced Si DRIE tool for highlY uniform ultra-deep structuring (SiDRY) 01.07.2020 R'EQUIP

Abstract

FHNW and the PI of this proposal are currently building the hard X-ray instrument STIX for the ESA M-class mission Solar Orbiter. STIX will perform imaging spectroscopy of hard X-ray emission from a viewing angle different from Earth to study the energy release and particle accretion in solar flares. Here we propose to design, test, and build a miniature X-ray imager that will be part of the Micro Solar-Flare Apparatus (MiSolFA) instrument. MiSolFa is a compact X-ray imaging spectrometer that will operate in a near-Earth orbit on board of a very small satellite (~10 kg) provided by the Italian Space Agency. MiSolFA and STIX will have the unique opportunity to look at the same flare from two different directions. Hence, MiSolFa is not complementing STIX, but it will open a new science window not achievable by STIX alone. This will allow us to systematically measure the directivity of the emitted HXR emission and use limb-occultation to isolate emission from the coronal acceleration region: Directivity measurements will allow us to measure directly the degree of beaming of the flare-accelerated electrons. This is a long outstanding question in solar flare physics, and has fundamental implication on the flare energy transport process. Previous indirect measurements contradict the standard theory of beamed energy transport; however reliable direct measurements are current not available. To solve the cross-calibration problems affecting all previous attempts to combine data from different satellites, MiSolFA will adopt the same photon detectors as STIX, accurately quantifying the anisotropy of the X-ray emission for the first time. By selecting flares whose footpoints (the brightest X-ray sources, at the chromosphere) are occulted by the solar limb for one of the two observatories, the other will be able to study the much fainter coronal emission in isolation, obtaining for the first time systematic observations of all interesting regions at the same time. This will give us direct measurements of the acceleration region simultaneous with the measurements of the chromospheric footpoints to model electron acceleration and transport in solar flares. The proposed work consists of three years of design, testing, and fabrication of the imager (the detector fabrication and testing is not part of this proposal) and scientific data analysis including publication of papers. The most critical component of MiSolFA is the set of gratings that constitute its imager: the current production technique used for STIX needs to be improved or even a new technology has to be found to fit the imaging system within the smaller volume of the MiSolFa concept. First promising results were previously achieved by gold deposition on polymer substrate, developed by microworks (Karlsruhe, Germany) in collaboration with FHNW. A better solution might be provided by PSI (Paul Scherrer institute), based on Au deposition on Si substrate. In parallel, chemical etching, the same technology as used for STIX, is proposed to be improved with the help of CMT Rickenbach (La Chaux-de-Fonds). This project will support the Swiss effort to evaluate the best technique for ultra fine (<10 micron) grid pitch production. Besides the use for MiSolFa concept, such fine-pitch grids have medical and defense applications, and will open up the possibility of sub-arcsecond imaging in hard X-rays for the next generation space mission after STIX.
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