IXPE Science Topical Working Groups webpage

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) exploits the polarization state of light from astrophysical sources to provide insight into our understanding of X-ray production in objects such as neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, as well as stellar and supermassive black holes.
The IXPE science team has a very long history of involvement in all aspects of X-ray polarimetry, from making the first measurements in the early 70�s, though developments of the electron tracking detector, to current theoretical studies.

Technical and science objectives:
  • improving polarization sensitivity by two orders of magnitude over the X-ray polarimeter aboard the Orbiting Solar Observatory OSO-8
  • providing simultaneous spectral, spatial, and temporal measurements,
  • determining the geometry and the emission mechanism of Active Galactic Nuclei and microquasars,
  • finding the magnetic field configuration in magnetars and determining the magnitude of the field,
  • finding the mechanism for X ray production in pulsars (both isolated and accreting) and the geometry,
  • determining how particles are accelerated in Pulsar Wind Nebulae.

About IXPE

IXPE will be launched from Kwajelein Atoll into a 540-km circular orbit at 0� inclination. During IXPE's two-year mission a new window on the astrophysical universe will be opened, with main targets such as active galactic nuclei (AGN), microquasars, pulsars and pulsar wind nebulae, magnetars, accreting X-ray binaries, supernova remnants, and the Galactic center will be studied. Opportunities for astro-particle multimessenger physics and some windows on dark matter, axion likle particles and further new physics beyond the Standard Model will also be opened by this X-ray polarimetry mission.

The cost of IXPE will be 188 million USD, which includes the cost of the launch vehicle and operations and data analysis after launch. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Martin Weisskopf of NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama, USA. Ball Aerospace, Broomfield Colorado, is providing the spacecraft and the services of mission integration. The X-ray polarization detectors will be provided by the Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, ASI), INFN and INAF. Dr. Brian Ramsey is leading the effort to produce the grazing-incidence X-ray mirrors at NASA/MSFC.

Scientific theory is coordinated by the teams of the Stanford University, USA and Roma Tre University, Italy. This is a web site with a related, internal, cooperative Xwiki page for the IXPE Science Topical Working Groups.