The burst alert telescope (BAT) on the SWIFT midex mission

Scott D. Barthelmy*, Louis M. Barbier, Jay R. Cummings, Ed E. Fenimore, Neil Gehrels, Derek Hullinger, Hans A. Krimm, Craig B. Markwardt, David M. Palmer, Ann Parsons, Goro Sato, Masaya Suzuki, Tadayuki Takahashi, Makota Tashiro, Jack Tueller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1416 Citations (Scopus)


The burst alert telescope (BAT) is one of three instruments on the Swift MIDEX spacecraft to study gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The BAT first detects the GRB and localizes the burst direction to an accuracy of 1-4 arcmin within 20 s after the start of the event. The GRB trigger initiates an autonomous spacecraft slew to point the two narrow field-of-view (FOV) instruments at the burst location within 20-70 s so to make follow-up X-ray and optical observations. The BAT is a wide-FOV, coded-aperture instrument with a CdZnTe detector plane. The detector plane is composed of 32,768 pieces of CdZnTe (4×4×2 mm), and the coded-aperture mask is composed of ∼52,000 pieces of lead (5×5×1 mm) with a 1-m separation between mask and detector plane. The BAT operates over the 15-150 keV energy range with ∼7 keV resolution, a sensitivity of ∼10 -8 erg s -1 cm -2, and a 1.4 sr (half-coded) FOV. We expect to detect > 100 GRBs/year for a 2-year mission. The BAT also performs an all-sky hard X-ray survey with a sensitivity of ∼2 m Crab (systematic limit) and it serves as a hard X-ray transient monitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-164
Number of pages22
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec


  • Afterglow
  • Astrophysics
  • Burst
  • Coded aperture
  • Cosmology
  • CZT
  • Gamma-ray
  • GRB
  • Hard X-ray
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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