AHEAD (Integrated Activities in the High Energy Astrophysics Domain) is an ongoing project (October 2015- March 2019) approved in the framework of the European Horizon 2020 program (Research Infrastructures for High Energy Astrophysics); see http://ahead.iaps.inaf.it/. The overall objective of AHEAD is to integrate national efforts in high-energy Astrophysics and to promote the domain at the European level, to keep its community at the cutting edge of science and technology and ensure that space observatories for high-energy astrophysics are at the state of the art.
The Institute of Space Sciences ICE (CSIC-IEEC) is part of the AHEAD Work Package 9, which will provide activities like simulation, feasibility studies and assessment of instrumentation devoted to the hard X-ray to medium-high energy gamma-ray range. The main goal is to develop tools in order to help the performance evaluation, the selection and further development of an instrument concept, to be proposed for the next generation of gamma-ray observatory. Several other European Institutes participate, mainly from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, with external collaboration from USA and Japan as well.
ICE is collaborating specifically with the CSNSM in Paris to lead a research effort to find the optimal space-based gamma-ray instrument design, based on a Pair and Compton telescope. Such an instrument concept is currently studied both in Europe and in the United States for mission proposals to ESA and NASA. Although the instrument schemes studied by the US and European teams are similar, some differences exist between the two proposals.
The optimization will be carried out using detailed simulations with dedicated software tools like MEGAlib in order to reach the best performance for the simultaneous detection of Compton and pair- producing gamma-ray events over a large bandpass (from ~100 keV to several GeV).
Senior Institute members involved
, J. Isern