A small satellite version of a soft x-ray polarimeter
Boissay Malaquin, R.
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Citation (published version)H.L. Marshall, S. Heine, A. Garner, E. Gullikson, M. Guenther, C. Leitz, R. Masterson, E. Miller, W. Zhang, R. Boissay Malaquin, I. Caiazzo, D. Chakrabarty, R. Davidson, L. Gallo, R.K. Heilmann, J. Heyl, E. Kara, A. Marscher, N. Schulz. 2020. "A small satellite version of a soft x-ray polarimeter." Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2020: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2562811
We describe a new implementation of a broad-band soft X-ray polarimeter, substantially based on a previous design. This implementation, the Pioneer Soft X-ray Polarimeter (PiSoX) is a SmallSat, designed for NASA’s call for Astrophysics Pioneers, small missions that could be CubeSats, balloon experiments, or SmallSats. As in REDSoX, the grating arrangement is designed optimally for the purpose of polarimetry with broad-band focussing optics by matching the dispersion of the spectrometer channels to laterally graded multilayers (LGMLs). The system can achieve polarization modulation factors over 90%. For PiSoX, the optics are lightweight Si mirrors in a one-bounce parabolic configuration. High efficiency, blazed gratings from opposite sectors are oriented to disperse to a LGML forming a channel covering the wavelength range from 35 Å to 75 Å (165 - 350 eV). Upon satellite rotation, the intensities of the dispersed spectra, after reflection and polarizing by the LGMLs, give the three Stokes parameters needed to determine a source’s linear polarization fraction and orientation. The design can be extended to higher energies as LGMLs are developed further. We describe examples of the potential scientific return from instruments based on this design.