Design and performance of Soft Gamma-ray Detector onboard the Hitomi (ASTRO-H) satellite

Hiroyasu Tajima*, Shin Watanabe, Yasushi Fukazawa, Roger Blandford, Teruaki Enoto, Andrea Goldwurm, Kouichi Hagino, Katsuhiro Hayashi, Yuto Ichinohe, Jun Kataoka, Junichiro Katsuta, Takao Kitaguchi, Motohide Kokubun, Philippe Laurent, François Lebrun, Olivier Limousin, Grzegorz M. Madejski, Kazuo Makishima, Tsunefumi Mizuno, Kunishiro MoriTakeshi Nakamori, Toshio Nakano, Kazuhiro Nakazawa, Hirofumi Noda, Hirokazu Odaka, Masanori Ohno, Masayuki Ohta, Shinya Saito, Goro Sato, Rie Sato, Shinichiro Takeda, Hiromitsu Takahashi, Tadayuki Takahashi, Takaaki Tanaka, Yasuyuki Tanaka, Yukikatsu Terada, Hideki Uchiyama, Yasunobu Uchiyama, Kazutaka Yamaoka, Yoichi Yatsu, Daisuke Yonetoku, Takayuki Yuasa

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Hitomi (ASTRO-H) was the sixth Japanese X-ray satellite that carried instruments with exquisite energy resolution of <7 eV and broad energy coverage of 0.3 to 600 keV. The Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD) was the Hitomi instrument that observed the highest energy band (60 to 600 keV). The SGD design achieves a low background level by combining active shields and Compton cameras where Compton kinematics is utilized to reject backgrounds coming from outside of the field of view. A compact and highly efficient Compton camera is realized using a combination of silicon and cadmium telluride semiconductor sensors with a good energy resolution. Compton kinematics also carries information for gamma-ray polarization, making the SGD an excellent polarimeter. Following several years of development, the satellite was successfully launched on February 17, 2016. After proper functionality of the SGD components were verified, the nominal observation mode was initiated on March 24, 2016. The SGD observed the Crab Nebula for approximately two hours before the spacecraft ceased to function on March 26, 2016. We present concepts of the SGD design followed by detailed description of the instrument and its performance measured on ground and in orbit.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number021411
    JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Instrumentation
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Space and Planetary Science


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