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CLAIRE: First light for a gamma-ray lens

  • Peter von BallmoosEmail author
  • Hubert Halloin
  • Jean Evrard
  • Gerry Skinner
  • Nikolai Abrosimov
  • Jose Alvarez
  • Pierre Bastie
  • Bernard Hamelin
  • Margarida Hernanz
  • Pierre Jean
  • Jürgen Knödlseder
  • Bob Smither

Abstract

The objective of the R&D project CLAIRE was to prove the principle of a gamma-ray lens for nuclear astrophysics. CLAIRE’s Laue diffraction lens has a diameter of 45 cm and a focal length of 277 cm; 556 germanium-silicon crystals are tuned to focus 170 keV photons onto a 1.5 cm diameter focal spot. Laboratory measurements of the individual crystals and the entire lens have been used to validate a numerical model that we use to estimate the lens performance for a source at infinity. During a stratospheric balloon flight on 2001 June 14, CLAIRE was directed at the Crab nebula by a pointing system able to stabilize the lens to within a few arcseconds of the target. In 72 min of valid pointing time, 33 photons from the Crab were detected in the 3 keV bandpass of the lens: CLAIRE’s first light! The performance of CLAIRE’s gamma-ray lens, namely the peak reflectivity for a polychromatic source (9 ± 1%), has been confirmed by ground data obtained on a 205 meter long test range. CLAIRE’s measured performance validates the principle of a Laue lens for nuclear astrophysics, opening the way for a space-borne gamma-ray lens telescope that will achieve one to two orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity over present technologies.

Keywords

Instrumentation Nuclear Astrophysics Gamma Ray Optics Laue Crystals 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter von Ballmoos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hubert Halloin
    • 1
  • Jean Evrard
    • 2
  • Gerry Skinner
    • 1
  • Nikolai Abrosimov
    • 3
  • Jose Alvarez
    • 4
  • Pierre Bastie
    • 5
  • Bernard Hamelin
    • 6
  • Margarida Hernanz
    • 4
  • Pierre Jean
    • 1
  • Jürgen Knödlseder
    • 1
  • Bob Smither
    • 7
  1. 1.CESRToulouseFrance
  2. 2.CNESToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Institut für KristallzüchtungBerlinGermany
  4. 4.IEEC, Edif. NexusBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Laboratoire de Spectrométrie PhysiqueSt Martin d’HèresFrance
  6. 6.Institut Laue-LangevinGrenobleFrance
  7. 7.Argonne Natl. LabArgonneUSA

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