Technical Description

  • Bandpass: 0.2-12 keV

  • Effective area:
         >2000 cm2 @ 1.5 keV,
         600 cm2 @ 6 keV
    2x XMM-Newton for soft X-ray timing

  • Energy resolution:
         85 eV @ 1keV,
         137 eV @ 6 keV
    Similar to XMM and Chandra

  • Time-tagging resolution:
         <300 nsec (absolute)
    ~25x better than RXTE
    ~100-1000x better than XMM

  • Spatial resolution: 5 arcmin diam. non-imaging FOV

  • Background: Dominated by diffuse cosmic XRB (soft)
    (Slides: Impact of Soyuz gamma-ray altimeter on NICER background, Krizmanic et al. 2017, in prep)

  • Sensitivity: 3x10-14 ergs s-1cm-2 (0.5-10 keV, 5 σ in 10 ksec)
    ~30x better than RXTE,
    ~4x better than XMM

Effective area curve Labled diagram

High-throughput, low-background soft X-ray timing and spectroscopy

NICER offers a combination of capabilities not available in any existing mission.
3D graph of NICER capabilities vs other missions
Lightcurves for XMM and NICER
"Best effort" XMM and NICER lightcurves for key target PSR J0437-4715.