Sep 3 – 8, 2017
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Europe/London timezone

The SMILE Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) CCD design and development

Sep 5, 2017, 4:25 PM
Berrill Lecture Theatre (OU)

Berrill Lecture Theatre (OU)

The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA


Matthew Soman (Open University)


SMILE, the Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, is a joint science mission between the European Space Agency and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The spacecraft will be uniquely equipped to study the interaction between the Earth’s magnetosphere-ionosphere system and the solar wind on a global scale. SMILE’s instruments will explore this science through imaging of the solar wind charge exchange soft X-ray emission from the dayside magnetosheath, simultaneous imaging of the UV northern aurora and in situ monitoring of the solar wind and magnetosheath plasma and magnetic field conditions.

The Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is the instrument being designed to observe X-ray photons emitted by the solar wind charge exchange process at photon energies between 200 eV and 2000 eV, using a lobster-eye micropore optic to observe over an ultra-wide field of view around 16° x 25°. X-rays will be collected using a focal plane array of two custom-designed CCDs, each consisting of 18 µm square pixels in a 4510 by 4510 array. The pixel array is asymmetrically split into image and store regions with a ratio of approximately 6:1 such that areas of 6 x 6 native pixels are binned on-chip before readout, thus creating super-pixels of 108 µm square in the image area.

SMILE will be placed in a highly elliptical polar orbit, passing in and out of the Earth’s radiation belts every 48 hours. Proton damage accumulated in the CCDs during the mission’s nominal 3-year lifetime will degrade their performance (such as through decreases in Charge Transfer Efficiency), negatively impacting the instrument’s ability to detect low energy X-rays incident on the regions of the CCD image area furthest from the detector outputs. The design for the SMILE-SXI CCDs will be presented here, including discussion of proposed operating schemes, event detection algorithms, expected end of life CCD performance and results obtained from representative devices.

Primary authors

Matthew Soman (Open University) David Hall (Open University) Prof. Andrew Holland (The Open University) Ross Burgon (Open University) Thomas Buggey (Open University) Jesper Skottfelt Steven Sembay (University of Leicester) Paul Drumm (University of Leicester) Julian Thornhill (University of Leicester) Andrew Read (University of Leicester) Dave Walton (University College London - MSSL) Graziella Branduardi-Raymont (University College London - MSSL) Walfried Raab (European Space Agency) Peter Verhoeve (European Space Agency) David Agnolon (European Space Agency) Tom Greig (Teledyne e2v)

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