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Preprint 08/99


Time resolution capability of the XMM EPIC pn­CCD in different readout modes

M. Kuster (1), S. Benlloch (1), E. Kendziorra (1) and U.G. Briel (2)

(1) Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Astronomie, Universität Tübingen, Waldhäuser Str. 64, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany
(2) Max­Planck­Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), Giessenbachstrasse, D­85740 Garching, Germany

To appear in: Proc. SPIE, "EUV, X-ray and Gamma Ray Instrumentation for Astronomy X", Vol. 3765, Oswald H. Siegmund, Kathryn A. Flanagan, ed., 1999

Abstract. The X­ray Multi Mirror Mission (XMM), the second corner stone mission of the European Space Agency's Horizont 2000, will be launched in December 1999. One of the instruments on board of XMM will be the EPIC pn­CCD. The detector consists of four independent quadrants integrated monolithically on a single silicon wafer. Each quadrant is divided into 3 CCDs with 200 x 64 pixels (150 x 150 micron2 each) and 280 micron depletion depth. The pn­CCD will be able to perform high resolution timing analysis as well as high throughput imaging and spectroscopy in six different readout modes. In the standard imaging mode (Full Frame Mode) the CCDs are read out sequentially every 73.3 ms. In addition, different readout modes allow high resolution timing analysis by reducing the integration time down to 7 micro-sec and reading out only one CCD. In this paper we show results of the calibration of the flight spare unit of the EPIC pn camera with respect to time resolution of all observation modes. In the first part we explain the detailed timing of each mode and show how one can calculate the best possible arrival time for photons in each observation mode. In the second part of the paper, we analyzed the influence of the readout noise on the time resolution of the pn­CCD camera, by combining dead time functions with simulated light curves.

Key words: XMM, pn­CCD, EPIC, timing

Paper (2.907k gzip'ed Postscript including figures)


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