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LOFT — Large Observatory for X-ray Timing

Zane, S; (2014) LOFT — Large Observatory for X-ray Timing. Journal of Instrumentation , 9 (12) , Article C12003. 10.1088/1748-0221/9/12/C12003. Green open access

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LOFT (the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing), is a mission concept that was considered by ESA as a candidate for an M3 mission and has been studied during an extended > 2-years long assessment phase. The mission was specifically designed to perform fast X-ray timing and probe the status of the matter near black holes and neutron stars. The LOFT scientific payload is composed of a Large Area Detector (LAD) and a Wide Field Monitor (WFM). The LAD is a 10 m2-class pointed instrument with ~ 15 times the collecting area of the largest past timing missions (as the Rossi XTE) over the 2-30 keV range (30-80 keV expanded), combined with CCD-class spectral resolution, which holds the capability to revolutionise studies of X-ray variability down to the millisecond time scales. Its ground-breaking characteristic is a mass per unit surface in the range of ~ 10 kg/m2, enabling an effective area of ~ 10 m2 (at 10 keV) at a reasonable weight. The development of such large but light experiment, with low mass and power per unit area, is now made possible by the recent advancements in the field of large-area silicon drift detectors and capillary-plate X-ray collimators. Although the LOFT mission has not been down-selected for launch in the M3 ESA programme (with launch in 2022-2024), during the assessment phase most of the trade off have been closed leading to a robust and well documented design which will be re-proposed in the future ESA calls. In this paper, we will summarize the characteristics of the LAD instrument and briefly describe the status of the detectors design.

Type: Article
Title: LOFT — Large Observatory for X-ray Timing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1088/1748-0221/9/12/C12003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-0221/9/12/C12003
Language: English
Additional information: Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471267
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