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A practical superconducting-microcalorimeter X-ray spectrometer for beamline and laboratory science



William B. Doriese, Peter Abbamonte, Douglas A. Bennett, Edward V. Denison, Yizhi Fang, Daniel A. Fischer, Colin P. Fitzgerald, Joseph W. Fowler, Johnathon D. Gard, Gene C. Hilton, Cherno Jaye, Jessica L. McChesney, Luis Miaja Avila, Kelsey M. Morgan, Young Il Joe, Galen C. O'Neil, Carl D. Reintsema, Fanny Rodolakis, Daniel R. Schmidt, Hideyuki Tatsuno, Jens Uhlig, Leila R. Vale, Joel N. Ullom, Daniel S. Swetz


We describe a series of microcalorimeter X-ray spectrometers designed for a broad suite of measurement applications. The chief advantage of this type of spectrometer is that it can be orders of magnitude more efficient at collecting X-rays than more traditional high-resolution spectrometers that rely on wavelength-dispersive techniques. This advantage is most useful in applications that are traditionally photon-starved and/or involve radiation-sensitive samples. Each energy-dispersive spectrometer is built around an array of several hundred transition-edge sensors (TESs). TESs are superconducting thin films that are biased into their superconducting-to-normal-metal transitions. The spectrometers share a common readout architecture and many design elements, such as a compact, 65 mK detector package, 8-column time-division-multiplexed superconducting quantum-interference device readout, and a liquid-cryogen-free cryogenic system that is a two-stage adiabatic-demagnetization refrigerator backed by a pulse-tube cryocooler. We have adapted this flexible architecture to mate to a variety of sample chambers and measurement systems that encompass a range of observing geometries. There are two different types of TES pixels employed. The first, designed for X-ray energies below 10 keV, has a best demonstrated energy resolution of 2.1 eV (full-width-at-half-maximum or FWHM) at 5.9 keV. The second, designed for X-ray energies below 2 keV, has a best demonstrated resolution of 1.0 eV (FWHM) at 500 eV. Our team has now deployed seven of these X-ray spectrometers to a variety of light sources, accelerator facilities, and laboratory-scale experiments; these seven spectrometers have already performed measurements related to their applications. Another five of these spectrometers will come online in the near future. We have applied our TES spectrometers to the following measurement applications: synchrotron-based absorption and emission spectroscopy and energy-resolved scattering...
Review of Scientific Instruments


X-ray spectroscopy, microcalorimeter, transition-edge sensor
Created May 16, 2017, Updated July 20, 2017