Particle Physics Seminar

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) and the technique of photoelectric X-ray polarimetry have opened a new frontier in astrophysics

by Paolo Soffitta

Nußallee 12/1.049 (PI) - Conference Room II (PI)

Nußallee 12/1.049 (PI) - Conference Room II


Show room on map

The dawn of X-ray Astronomy in the early 1960s swiftly highlighted the importance of X-ray polarimetry for understanding the data from newly found celestial bodies. Initially, the outcomes of these experiments were meager: the celestial sources showed less polarization than anticipated, and the experimental methods lacked the necessary sensitivity. Despite these early modest findings, the scientific community did not halt their efforts to enhance these techniques. A significant milestone was reached in 2001, demonstrating the efficient use of the photoelectric effect in gas as a pivotal breakthrough in Astrophysics. It wasn't until end of 2021 that launching an observatory equipped to fully utilize the photoelectric effect became feasible. The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), a joint NASA-ASI mission and the first Small Explorer mission with three mirror units, shows this progress. IXPE was awarded of
the Bruno Rossi prize of the American Astronomical Society for 2024. In this presentation, I will explore the technological advancements that facilitated this leap in Astrophysics, detail the IXPE mission's framework, and highlight the most important scientific discoveries made during its first two years. These achievements range from angularly resolved polarimetry of Supernova Remnants and the understanding acceleration processes, to revealing the geometries in the inner regions of compact objects like Black Holes and Neutron Stars, as well as Active Galactic Nuclei. Finally, I will suggest new roads for future developments in light of IXPE's astrophysical results.


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 662 5356 7797
Passcode: 599591


Organized by

Maike Hansen, Tatjana Lenz, Saime Gürbüz