Superconducting Transition-Edge Sensors for X-ray Science
The maturity of superconducting transition-edge sensors (TESs) has increased dramatically in recent years. These devices can now provide x-ray resolving powers, E/AE, of 3x103 or higher. While the small size and low count rates of individual TESs have traditionally limited their applicability, arrays of TESs can overcome these constraints.
Arrays of up to 104 elements are now in use for bolometric applications, arrays of up to 256 elements are in use for x-ray spectroscopy, and the recent introduction of microwave readout techniques has provided a technological path to arrays of 105-106 elements. Here, we review the status of TES technology, emphasizing developments at NIST. We describe potential applications in x-ray science including emission spectroscopy, Compton scattering, and time-resolved absorption spectroscopy. Finally, we show early results from a TES spectrometer recently deployed at the National Synchrotron Light Source.