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Développement d'un simulateur pour le X-ray integral field unit : du signal astrophysique à la performance instrumentale

Abstract : This thesis is dedicated to the development of an End-ta-End model for the X-IFU spectrocalorimeter scheduled for launch in 2028 on board the Athena mission and which will observe the X-ray universe with unprecedented precision. This work has been mainly organized in two parts. I studied first the dynamics of the innermost parts of low mass X-ray binaries using two specific probes of the accretion flow: type I X-ray bursts and kHz quasi-periodic oscillations (kHz QPOs). Starting from the archivai data of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer mission and using specific data analysis techniques, I notably highlighted for the first time a reaction of the latter to the former, confirming the tight link between this oscillation and the inner parts of the system. The measured recovery time was also found in conflict with recent claims of an enhancement of the accretion rate following these thermonuclear explosions. From the exhaustive spectral timing analysis of both kHz QPOs in 4U 1728-34, I further confirmed the inconsistancy of their lag energy spectra, pointing towards a different origin for these two oscillations. The study of their covariance spectra, obtained here for the first time, has revealed the key role of the Comptonization layer, and potentially of a more compact part of it, in the emission of the QPOs. In the second part of my thesis, I focused on the development of an End-to-:End simulator for the X-IFU capable of depicting the full process leading to an X-ray observation, from the photon emission by the astrophysical source to their on-board detection. I notably implemented tools allowing the precise comparison of different potential pixel array configurations taking into account the effects of the event reconstruction from the raw data coming from the readout electronics. This study highlighted the advantage of using hybrid arrays containing a small pixel sub-array capable of improving by an order of magnitude the count rate capability of the instrument. An alternative solution would consist in defocusing the mirror during the observation of bright point sources. Being a key component of the overall X-IFU performance, I also thoroughly compared different reconstruction methods of the pixel raw signal. This showed that with a minimal impact on the required on-board processing power, a significant improvement of the final energy resolution could be obtained from more sophisticated reconstruction methods. Taking into account the calibration constraints, the most promising candidate currently appears to be the so-called "resistance space analysis". Taking advantage of the obtained performance characterization of the different foreseen pixel types, I also developed a fast and modular simulation method of the complete instrument providing representative synthetic observations with long exposure times of complex astrophysical sources suffinguish different turbulence regimes in galaxy clusters and to measure abundance and temperature profiles. In the longer run, this simulator will be useful for the study of other scientific cases as well as the analysis of instrumental effects at the full detection plane level such as pixel crosstalk.
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Philippe Peille. Développement d'un simulateur pour le X-ray integral field unit : du signal astrophysique à la performance instrumentale. Astrophysique [astro-ph]. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016TOU30236⟩. ⟨tel-01632830⟩

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