The Suzaku X-ray Observatory, launched in July 2005, is an orbiting X-ray telescope developed jointly by the Institute for Space and Astronautical at the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) and by NASA. The X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS), one of three science instruments aboard Suzaku, was developed and built by a collaboration involving the MIT Kavli Institute (then the Center for Space Research), ISAS/JAXA, and the Universities of Osaka and Kyoto. Possessing a unique combination of high effective area, good energy resolution, and low particle background, the XIS aboard Suzaku has greatly contributed to our understanding of the nature of black holes, the thermodynamic state of the Galaxy’s interstellar medium, the outskirts of galaxy clusters, and other high-energy astrophysical phenomena.
The XIS consists of four independent charge-coupled devices (CCDs) which record the location and energy of incident X-rays. These CCD detectors were fabricated at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and they are very similar to those deployed in the ACIS instrument aboard the Chandra X-ray Observatory, launched in 1999. Several improvements were made to increase the energy resolution and mitigate the effects of on-orbit radiation damage. The MKI team also provided the thermoelectric cooling system and analog electronics employed by the XIS instruments. Members of the team continue to monitor the performance of the instrument, work with the team in Japan to develop and implement calibration products, and use Suzaku to study astrophysics.
More information about Suzaku and the XIS can be found at the ISAS/JAXA Suzaku page (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/suzaku/index.shtml), the NASA/GSFC Suzaku Guest Observer Facility (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/astroe), and the MKI Suzaku/XIS page (http://space.mit.edu/XIS).