Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics
The Wide Field Imager for the Athena X-ray Observatory

Wide Field Imager Overview

Welcome to the web page of the Wide Field Imager (WFI) for the Athena X-ray Observatory.

The WFI is one of the two scientific instruments proposed for Athena, the mission selected to address the “Hot and Energetic Universe” science theme identified by ESA (Athena@ESA) for its L2 large satellite mission with launch in 2028.

The WFI will provide imaging in the 0.2-15 keV energy band over a wide field, simultaneously with spectrally and time-resolved photon counting. The instrument is designed to make optimal use of the grasp (product of collecting area and solid angle) provided by the optical design of the ATHENA mirror system, by combining a sensitive approx. 40’x40' field of view DEPFET detector with a pixel size properly sampling the angular resolution of 5’’ on-axis (half energy width).

The WFI is a very powerful survey instrument, significantly surpassing currently existing capabilities. In addition, the WFI will provide unprecedented simultaneous high-time resolution and high count rate capabilities for the observation of bright sources with low pile-up and high efficiency.

The Athena mission and the WFI instrument are currently in the technology development phase. The instrument AO is expected for 2017 and mission adoption is envisaged for 2020.

The WFI proto-consortium is led by the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics (Germany) in collaboration with partners in Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, Austria, Denmark, Italy, France, the United States, Switzerland, Portugal, and Greece.