Balloon-borne coded aperture telescope for arc-minute angular resolution at hard x-ray energies
We are working on the development of a new balloon-borne telescope, MARGIE (minute-of-arc resolution gamma ray imaging experiment). It will be a coded aperture telescope designed to image hard x-rays (in various configurations) over the 20 - 600 keV range with an angular resolution approaching one arc minute. MARGIE will use one (or both) of two different detection plane technologies, each of which is capable of providing event locations with sub-mm accuracies. One such technology involves the use of cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) strip detectors. We have successfully completed a series of laboratory measurements using a prototype CZT detector with 375 micron pitch. Spatial location accuracies of better than 375 microns have been demonstrated. A second type of detection plane would be based on CsI microfiber arrays coupled to a large area silicon CCD readout array. This approach would provide spatial resolutions comparable to that of the CZT prototype. In one possible configuration, the coded mask would be 0.5 mm thick tungsten, with 0.5 mm pixels at a distance of 1.5 m from the central detector giving an angular resolution of 1 arc-minute and a fully coded field of view of 12 degrees. We review the capabilities of the MARGIE telescope and report on the status of our development efforts and our plans for a first balloon flight.