Mission Overview

The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) is a proposed collimated hard X-ray (20-200 keV) telescope with high sensitivity and spatial resolution. It is a collaboration between institutes in China (who will provide the spacecraft and main hard X-ray imager) and the UK (who will provide low and medium-energy imaging instruments)

The Phase A study of the HXMT mission has been jointly supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Tsinghua University since 2000. So far, all the key technical difficulties of the telescope have been overcome, the ground prototype of HXMT has been constructed, and the balloon borne flight testing has been finished. The platform HXMT will use is that of "Ziyuan II" (Earth Resource II) satellite series. This long-time tested platform meets the requirements of HXMT very well, and there is no key technical difficulty that needs to be surmounted. Therefore, HXMT is ready for develop and launch.


The main hard X-ray imager of HXMT is based on the direct demodulation (DD) imaging method and the well established NaI(Ti)/CsI(Na) phoswich detection techniques.

Large area silicon detectors will provide additional sensitivity in the 3-30 keV band, extending the scientific capabilities of HXMT

Science Aims

The hard X-ray band is a key waveband for high energy astrophysics studies. Exploring various kinds of black holes is a major frontier of physics and astronomy in the new century. Hard X-rays originate mostly from regions close to black holes and are highly penetrating, and are therefore important tools for studying the physical processes in the extreme conditions such as high matter density, high energy density, high electric-magnetic field, and high gravitational field.

As a hard X-ray telescope with excellent sensitivity and spatial resolution, HXMT will have the following observational targets:

Our activities

The Southampton Group the team are part of the team providing the IEXD (Intermediate Energy X-ray Detector Array) detector, comprising ~1000 square cm of silicon photodiodes and a complex collimator to provide imaging in the 8-30 keV energy range.