A scintillator-based hard X-Ray imaging telescope - CASTER
The primary scientific goal of the Black Hole Finder Probe (BHFP) mission, a component of the NASA Beyond Einstein program, is to survey the local Universe for black holes over a wide range of mass and accretion rate. One approach to such a survey is a hard X-ray coded aperture imaging telescope operating in the 10 - 600 keV energy band, a spectral range especially useful for detecting black hole sources and studying their spectra. The development of new inorganic scintillator materials (e.g., LaBr3 and LaCl3) provides improved energy resolution and timing performance that is well suited to the BHFP science requirements. Detection planes formed with such materials coupled with a new generation of readout devices represent a significant advance in the performance capabilities of scintillator-based gamma cameras. We discuss the Coded Aperture Survey Telescope for Energetic Radiation (CASTER), a mission concept for a BHFP based on the use of the latest scintillator technology, and present laboratory test results demonstrating the expected scintillator performance.