Composition of the Chandra ACIS contaminant Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) on the Chandra X-ray Observatory is suffering a gradual loss of low energy sensitivity due to a buildup of a contaminant. High resolution spectra of bright astrophysical sources using the Chandra Low Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer (LETGS) have been analyzed in order to determine the nature of the contaminant by measuring the absorption edges. The dominant element in the contaminant is carbon. Edges due to oxygen and fluorine are also detectable. Excluding H, we find that C, O, and F comprise >80%, 7%, and 7% of the contaminant by number, respectively. Nitrogen is less than 3% of the contaminant. We will assess various candidates for the contaminating material and investigate the growth of the layer with time. For example, the detailed structure of the C-K absorption edge provides information about the bonding structure of the compound, eliminating aromatic hydrocarbons as the contaminating material.

authors

publication date

  • February 3, 2004