Performance of an X-ray Microcalorimeter with a 240 μm Absorber and a 50 μm TES Bilayer
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Superconducting transition-edge sensor (TES) microcalorimeters are being developed for a variety of potential astrophysics missions, including Athena. The X-ray integral field unit instrument on this mission requires close-packed pixels on a 0.25 mm pitch, and high quantum efficiency between 0.2 and 12 keV. In this work, we describe a new approach with 50 μm square TESs consisting of a Mo/Au bilayer, deposited on silicon nitride membranes to provide a weak thermal conductance to a ~ 50 mK heat bath. Larger TESs usually have additional normal metal stripes on top of the bilayer to reduce the noise. However, we have found that excellent spectral performance can be achieved without the need for any normal metal stripes on top of the TES. A spectral performance of 1.58 ± 0.12 eV at 5.9 keV has been achieved, the best resolution seen in any of our devices with this pixel size.