The Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE), one of the four scientific space science missions within the framework of the Strategic Pioneer Program on Space Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is a general purpose high energy cosmic-ray and gamma-ray observatory, which was successfully launched on December 17th, 2015 from the Junquan Satellite Launch Center. The DAMPE scientific objectives include the study of galactic cosmic rays up to ∼ 10 TeV and hundreds of TeV for electrons/gammas and nuclei respectively, and the search for dark matter signatures in their spectra.
In this paper we illustrate the layout of the DAMPE instrument, and discuss the results of beam tests and calibrations performed on ground. Finally we present the expected performance in space and give an overview of the mission key scientific goals.
By with PENG Xiaoyan
Fig. 1 shows a schematic view of the DAMPE detector. It consists of a Plastic Scintillator strip Detector (PSD), a Silicon-Tungsten tracKer-converter (STK), a BGO imaging calorimeter and a NeUtron Detector (NUD). The PSD provides charged-particle background rejection for gamma rays (anti-coincidence detector) and measures the charge of incident particles; the STK measures the charges and the trajectories of charged particles, and allows to reconstruct the directions of incident photons converting into e+e− pairs; the hodoscopic BGO calorimeter, with a total depth of about 32 radiation lengths, allows to measure the energy of incident particles with high resolution and to provide efficient electron/hadron identification; finally, the NUD provides a independent measurement and further improvement of the electron/hadron identification.
DAMPE is able to detect electrons/positrons, gamma rays, protons, helium-nuclei and other heavy ions in a wide energy range with much improved energy resolution and large acceptance. The data sets provided by DAMPE could be used to study cosmic-ray physics, to probe the nature of dark matter, and to reveal the nature of high energy gamma-ray phenomena. The main scientific objectives addressed by DAMPE include: (1) understanding the mechanisms of particle acceleration operating in astrophysical sources, and the propagation of cosmic rays in the the Milky Way; (2) probing the nature of dark matter; and (3) studying the gamma-ray emission from Galactic and extragalactic sources. The data sets provided by DAMPE could be used to study cosmic-ray physics, to probe the nature of dark matter, and to reveal the nature of high energy gamma-ray phenomena. The large field of view of DAMPE provides the opportunity to monitor the violent GeV-TeV transients for various purposes.
This paper was published in the Astroparticle Physics (2017, Volume 95, p. 6-24).Detailed information of the paper can be found at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.astropartphys.2017.08.005