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First flight of the Gamma-Ray Imager/Polarimeter for Solar flares (GRIPS) instrument View all abstracts by submitter

Amir Caspi   Submitted: 2016-10-05 14:51

The Gamma-Ray Imager/Polarimeter for Solar flares (GRIPS) instrument is a balloon-borne telescope designed to study solar-flare particle acceleration and transport. We describe GRIPS's first Antarctic long-duration flight in January 2016 and report preliminary calibration and science results. Electron and ion dynamics, particle abundances and the ambient plasma conditions in solar flares can be understood by examining hard X-ray (HXR) and gamma-ray emission (20 keV to 10 MeV). Enhanced imaging, spectroscopy and polarimetry of flare emissions in this energy range are needed to study particle acceleration and transport questions. The GRIPS instrument is specifically designed to answer questions including: What causes the spatial separation between energetic electrons producing hard X-rays and energetic ions producing gamma-ray lines? How anisotropic are the relativistic electrons, and why can they dominate in the corona? How do the compositions of accelerated and ambient material vary with space and time, and why? GRIPS's key technological improvements over the current solar state of the art at HXR/gamma-ray energies, the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), include 3D position-sensitive germanium detectors (3D-GeDs) and a single-grid modulation collimator, the multi-pitch rotating modulator (MPRM). The 3D-GeDs have spectral FWHM resolution of a few hundred keV and spatial resolution <1 mm^3. For photons that Compton scatter, usually ≳150 keV, the energy deposition sites can be tracked, providing polarization measurements as well as enhanced background reduction through Compton imaging. Each of GRIPS's detectors has 298 electrode strips read out with ASIC/FPGA electronics. In GRIPS's energy range, indirect imaging methods provide higher resolution than focusing optics or Compton imaging techniques. The MPRM gridimaging system has a single-grid design which provides twice the throughput of a bi-grid imaging system like RHESSI. The grid is composed of 2.5 cm deep tungsten-copper slats, and quasi-continuous FWHM angular coverage from 12.5-162 arcsecs are achieved by varying the slit pitch between 1-13 mm. This angular resolution is capable of imaging the separate magnetic loop footpoint emissions in a variety of flare sizes. In comparison, RHESSI's 35-arcsec resolution at similar energies makes the footpoints resolvable in only the largest flares.

Authors: Nicole Duncan, P. Saint-Hilaire, A. Y. Shih, G. J. Hurford, H. M. Bain, M. Amman, B. A. Mochizuki, J. Hoberman, J. Olson, B. A. Maruca, N. M. Godbole, D. M. Smith, J. Sample, N. A. Kelley, A. Zoglauer, A. Caspi, P. Kaufmann, S. Boggs, R. P. Lin
Projects: Other

Publication Status: Published -- Duncan et al. 2016, Proc. SPIE 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99052Q; DOI: 10.1117/12.2233859
Last Modified: 2016-10-12 12:18
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