The Spectroscopic Time-Resolving Observatory for Broadband X-rays (STROBE-X) probes strong gravity for stellar mass to supermassive black holes and ultradense matter with unprecedented effective area, high time-resolution, and good spectral resolution, while providing a powerful time-domain X-ray observatory. STROBE-X was approved by NASA as a Probe-class Mission for the 2020 US decadal survey; its feasibility study, where ICE participates, is being performed in 2017-2018.

STROBE-X includes three instruments, as shown in Fig. 1. The soft band (0.2–12 keV) is covered by the X-ray Concentrator Array (XRCA), an array of lightweight optics (3-m focal length, ~4 arcmin field-of-view) that concentrate incident photons onto small solid state detectors with CCD-like (85–130 eV) energy resolution, 100 ns time resolution, and low background rates. It is based on the X-ray concentrators developed for NICER (at the ISS). The harder band (2 to at least 30 keV) is covered by the Large Area Detector (LAD), based on the LAD from the LOFT ESA mission proposal, including large-area silicon drift detectors (SDDs), with 200–240 eV energy resolution, collimated to a 1º field-of-view with lead-glass micropore collimators.

Fig. 1. Deployed configuration of the STROBE-X spacecraft

Each Strobe-X instrument would provide an order of magnitude improvement in effective area (Fig. 2) compared with its predecessor (NICER in the soft band and RXTE in the hard band). A sensitive wide-field monitor (WFM), based on the
Large Area Detector 2-30 keV Wide Field Monitor X-ray Concentrator (2-50 keV) Array 0.2-12 keV Wide Field Monitor
(2-50 keV) LOFT/WFM, would act as a trigger for pointed observations, provide high duty cycle, high time resolution, high spectral resolution monitoring of the X-ray sky with ~10 times better sensitivity than the RXTE All-Sky Monitor, and enable multi-wavelength studies on a continuous, rather than scanning basis. Continuous telemetry of the WFM data would make it a powerful instrument in its own right.

Fig. 2. Effective area of the current baseline configuration, shown in Fig.1.

Aim of our participation

The Institute of Space Sciences is now supporting the technological study regarding the Wide Field Monitor (WFM), in particular, the mechanical and thermal configuration of the whole WFM, including the detector tray, the collimator and the coded masks.

Recent publications

C. A. Wilson-Hodge, P. S. Ray, K. Gendreau, D. Chakrabarty, M. Feroci, Z.Arzoumanian, S. Brandt, M. Hernanz, C. M. Hui, P. A. Jenke, T. Maccarone, R.Remillard, K. Wood, S. Zane, STROBE-X: X-ray timing and spectroscopy on dynamical timescales from microseconds to years, In Results in Physics, Volume 7,2017, Pages 3704-3705,

Institute members involved

M. Hernanz, José-Luis Gálvez

Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC)

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An institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

An institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Affiliated with the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya

Affiliated with the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya