Laboratory Astrophysics

Experimental validation of physical processes relevant to ATHENA background

The ATHENA X-ray observatory Silicon Pore Optics (SPO) telescope will potentially funnel protons onto the detector and deposit energies comparable to the X-ray of interest being measured. In order to better simulate this contribution to the background, the scattering efficiency and energy loss of soft protons onto an ATHENA/SPO target were measured in the laboratory.
This plot shows the scattering efficiency measured as a function of scattering angles, of grazing 50keV protons for several incidence angles ψ in the range 0.1°-1°.


Measurements of wavelengths and cross sections of inner-shell transitions

Observations by the coming and future high resolution X-ray spectroscopic instruments in space onboard XRISM and ATHENA observatories will reveal a large number of lines of elements in various ionization states. Laboratory studies of elements of astrophysical interest will be required to analyze these new data.
Measurements of the resonance energies of the ionized oxygen OV Ka transition were carried for both the main (O16) and secondary (O18) isotopes during a first run at the Elettra synchrotron (Trieste) during the first semester of 2022. An Electron Beam Ion Trap (EBIT) provided the highly ionized elements. The measurements allowed to resolve the isotope-shift of the resonance energy ∆EShift = 3.9 ± 1.8 meV (EO18 − EO16 ) by subtracting the two centroid values of the resonance energy plots.