, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 121-138
Date: 06 Sep 2008

GRI: focusing on the evolving violent universe


The gamma-ray imager (GRI) is a novel mission concept that will provide an unprecedented sensitivity leap in the soft gamma-ray domain by using for the first time a focusing lens built of Laue diffracting crystals. The lens will cover an energy band from 200–1,300 keV with an effective area reaching 600 cm2. It will be complemented by a single reflection multilayer coated mirror, extending the GRI energy band into the hard X-ray regime, down to ∼10 keV. The concentrated photons will be collected by a position sensitive pixelised CZT stack detector. We estimate continuum sensitivities of better than 10 − 7 ph cm − 2s − 1keV − 1 for a 100 ks exposure; the narrow line sensitivity will be better than 3 × 10 − 6 ph cm − 2s − 1 for the same integration time. As focusing instrument, GRI will have an angular resolution of better than 30 arcsec within a field of view of roughly 5 arcmin—an unprecedented achievement in the gamma-ray domain. Owing to the large focal length of 100 m of the lens and the mirror, the optics and detector will be placed on two separate spacecrafts flying in formation in a high elliptical orbit. R&D work to enable the lens focusing technology and to develop the required focal plane detector is currently underway, financed by ASI, CNES, ESA, and the Spanish Ministery of Education and Science. The GRI mission has been proposed as class M mission for ESAs Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 program. GRI will allow studies of particle acceleration processes and explosion physics in unprecedented detail, providing essential clues on the innermost nature of the most violent and most energetic processes in the universe.

All authors are on behalf of a large international collaboration
The GRI mission has been proposed as an international collaboration between (in alphabetical order) Belgium (CSR), China (IHEP, Tsinghua Univ.), Denmark (DNSC, Southern Univ.), France (CESR, APC, ILL, CSNSM, IAP, LAM), Germany (MPE), Ireland (UCD School of Physics), Italy (INAF/IASF Rome, Bologna, Milano, Palermo; INAF/OA Brera, Roma; UNIFE, CNR/IMEM), Poland (NCAC), Portugal (Combra Univ., Evora Univ.), Russia (SINP, MSU, Ioffe Inst.), Spain (IEEC-CSIC-IFAE, CNM-IMB), the Netherlands (SRON, Utrecht Univ.), Turkey (Sabanci Univ.), United Kingdom (Univ. of Southampton, MSSL, RAL, Edinburgh Univ.), and the United States of America (SSL UC Berkeley, Argonne National Lab., MSFC, GSFC, US NRL).