Launch of HXMT with IDEAS Integrated Circuits

The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) was launched on June 15, 2017 into sun synchronous orbit at 550km altitude [REF1]. HXMT is a joint effort of

the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Tsinghua University. HXMT is equipped with three instruments covering a broad x-ray energy range from 1 to 250 kiloelectron volts (keV): the high energy (HE) X-ray telescope (20–250 keV), the medium energy (ME) X-ray telescope (5–30 keV), and the low energy (LE) X-ray telescope (1–15 keV).

Integrated Detector Electronics AS (IDEAS) has supplied several 100 integrated circuits (IC) type VA32TA6 [Ref2] for the project to read out 2000 silicon PIN diodes in the medium energy x-ray detector. Each IC measures the electric charge from 32 diodes simultaneously and when the charge from any of the diodes exceeds a programmable threshold the IC outputs the digitized values. The IC has 32 low-power 10-bit analogue-to-digital converters (ADC) – one for every PIN diode.

The HXMT satellite will observe black holes, pulsars, and gamma-ray bursts, among many other phenomena.

A Long March-4B rocket carrying X-ray space telescope to observe black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts blasts off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 15, 2017. Picture credit: Zhen Zhe / Xinhua.





[REF2] The VA32TA6 is a predecessor to ASICs in the series VATA450, VATA451, and VATA461.

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