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Future instrumental capabilities in the energy range of nuclear transitions

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Abstract

Gamma-ray lines are the fingerprints of nuclear transitions, carrying the memory of high energy processes in the universe. Setting out from what is presently known about line emission in gamma-ray astronomy, requirements for future telescopes are outlined. The inventory of observed line features shows that sources with a wide range of angular and spectral extent have to be handled: the scientific objectives for gamma-ray spectroscopy are spanning from compact objects as broad class annihilators, over longlived galactic radioisotopes with hotspots in the degree-range to the extremely extended galactic disk and bulge emission of the narrow e-e+ line.

The instrumental categories which can be identified in the energy range of nuclear astrophysics have their origins in the different concepts of light itself: geometrical optics is the base of coded aperture systems — these methods will continue to yield adequate performances in the near future. Beyond this, focusing telescopes and Compton telescopes, based on wave- and quantum- optics respectively, may be capable to further push the limits of resolution and sensitivity.

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von Ballmoos, P. Future instrumental capabilities in the energy range of nuclear transitions. Space Sci Rev 75, 83–96 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00195027

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Key words

  • gamma-ray astronomy
  • instrumentation