The enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission (eXTP) is a China-led science mission designed to study the state of matter under extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism. Primary goals are the determination of the equation of state of matter at supra-nuclear density, the measurement of QED effects in highly magnetized star, and the study of accretion in the strong-field regime of gravity. Primary targets include isolated and binary neutron stars, strong magnetic field systems like magnetars, and stellar-mass and supermassive black holes.
The mission carries a unique and unprecedented suite of state-of-the-art instruments enabling for the first time ever the simultaneous spectral-timing-polarimetry studies of cosmic sources in the energy range from 0.5-30 keV. Key elements of the payload are:
- The Spectroscopic Focusing Array (SFA): a set of 11 X-ray focusing instruments operating in the 0.5-10 keV energy band with a field-of-view (FoV) of 12 arcmin each and a total effective area of ∼0.9 m^2 and 0.6 m^2 at 2 keV and 6 keV respectively, offering <180 eV spectral resolution.
- The Polarimetry Focusing Array (PFA): a set of 2 X-ray telescopes, with total effective area of 250 cm^2 at 2 keV, operating in the 2-10 keV energy range. The FoV of each telescope is 12 arcmin.
- The Large Area Detector (LAD): a deployable set of 640 Silicon Drift Detectors, achieving a total effective area of ∼3.4 m^2 between 6 and 10 keV. The operational energy range is 2-30 keV, with achievable spectral resolution better than 250 eV. The LAD is a non-imaging instrument, with a collimator providing a limited FoV <1°.
- The Wide Field Monitor (WFM): a set of 3 coded mask camera pairs, with a wide FoV of 3.7 sr, equipped with Silicon Drift Detectors
The LAD and the WFM instruments (already designed during the LOFT feasibility study - ESA M3 - by an EU consortium, including IEEC-CSIC), will be provided by Europe, in the framework of a global EU participation in the Chinese mission eXTP supported by an ESA MoO (Mission of Opportunity). There's a relevant Spanish participation led by ICE, at the level of IP of the WFM; the IEEC-CSIC will supply the collimator and coded masks, plus the mechanical and thermal configuration of the whole WFM, and be responsible of the Assembly, Integration, Verification and Test of the WFM cameras.