Fabian Kislat

Office: Physics, Demeritt Hall, Durham, NH 03824
A headshot of Fabian Kislat, an assistant professor in the Space Science Center.

I am an experimental astrophysicist with a strong passion for developing new instruments that will enable ground-breaking discoveries. My specialities are X-ray and gamma-ray polarimetry and spectroscopy, and applications to the observation of mass-accreting neutron stars and black holes. These objects are not only the brightest X-ray sources in our Galaxy, but also provide us with an opportunity to study the most extreme environments in the Universe.

I am the the PI of the SCOTTI project (Superconducting Titanium Imager), whose goal it is to build a balloon-borne hard X-ray telescope utilizing novel gamma-ray detectors using transition edge sensors. These cryogenic detectors will allow an unprecedented spectral resolution for soft gamma-rays. My dream is to one day build a hard X-ray space telescope with this kind of detector.

X-ray polarimetry promises insights into the geometry of astrophysical objects that are too small to be imaged by any telescope at any wavelength. I am the instrument scientist of the balloon-borne hard X-ray polarimeter X-Calibur. This instrument will measure the X-ray polarization of several Southern Hemisphere sources during its first long-duration balloon flight. A follow-up mission called XL-Calibur will make much more detailed measurements of several sources during multiple Southern and Northern hemisphere flights. I am also part of the science team of the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, a NASA satellite mission that will explore the polarization of X-rays in the 2-8keV energy band, scheduled for launch in early 2021.

Finally, I like to use astrophysical observations to test fundamental laws of Physics. For example, I have written several papers using time-of-flight measurements of gamma-rays and various polarization measurements in the optical band to constrain violations of Lorentz invariance, the fundamental symmetry of Einstein's theory of Special Relativity.


  • Ph.D., Physics, Humbolt University of Berlin (Humboldt-Univrsitat zu Berlin)

Research Interests

  • Astrophysics
  • Cryogenics
  • Photodetectors & Optical Sensors
  • Radiosources, Infrared, X-ray, Gamma Ray

Courses Taught

  • PHYS 407: General Physics I Recitation
  • PHYS 703: Electricity and Magnetism I

Selected Publications

Kislat, F., Abarr, Q., Beheshtipour, B., De Geronimo, G., Dowkontt, P., Tang, J., & Krawczynski, H. (2018). Optimization of the design of X-Calibur for a long-duration balloon flight and results from a one-day test flight. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems, 4(01), 1. doi:10.1117/1.jatis.4.1.011004

Marin, F., Dovčiak, M., Muleri, F., Kislat, F. F., & Krawczynski, H. S. (2018). Predicting the X-ray polarization of type 2 Seyfert galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 473(1), 1286-1316. doi:10.1093/mnras/stx2382

Kislat, F., Beheshtipour, B., Dowkontt, P., Guarino, V., Lanzi, R. J., Okajima, T., . . . Krawczynski, H. (2017). Design of the Telescope Truss and Gondola for the Balloon-Borne X-ray Polarimeter X-Calibur. Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation, 06(02), 1740003. doi:10.1142/s2251171717400037

Kislat, F., & Krawczynski, H. (2017). Searches for Anisotropic Lorentz-Invariance Violation in the Photon Sector. PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH MEETING ON CPT AND LORENTZ SYMMETRY, 113-116. Retrieved from http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/

Krawczynski, H. S., Stern, D., Harrison, F. A., Kislat, F. F., Zajczyk, A., Beilicke, M., . . . Zhang, W. W. (2016). X-ray polarimetry with the Polarization Spectroscopic Telescope Array (PolSTAR). Astroparticle Physics, 75, 8-28. doi:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2015.10.009

Abbasi, R., Ackermann, M., Adams, J., Ahlers, M., Ahrens, J., Andeen, K., . . . Yoshida, S. (2009). The IceCube data acquisition system: Signal capture, digitization, and timestamping. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 601(3), 294-316. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2009.01.001

Aartsen, M. G., Abbasi, R., Abdou, Y., Ackermann, M., Adams, J., Aguilar, J. A., . . . Zoll, M. (n.d.). First Observation of PeV-Energy Neutrinos with IceCube. Physical Review Letters, 111(2). doi:10.1103/physrevlett.111.021103

Abbasi, R., Abdou, Y., Abu-Zayyad, T., Ackermann, M., Adams, J., Aguilar, J. A., . . . Zoll, M. (n.d.). An absence of neutrinos associated with cosmic-ray acceleration in γ-ray bursts. Nature, 484(7394), 351-354. doi:10.1038/nature11068

Aartsen, M. G., Abbasi, R., Abdou, Y., Ackermann, M., Adams, J., Aguilar, J. A., . . . Zoll, M. (n.d.). Search for Dark Matter Annihilations in the Sun with the 79-String IceCube Detector. Physical Review Letters, 110(13). doi:10.1103/physrevlett.110.131302

Abbasi, R., Abdou, Y., Abu-Zayyad, T., Adams, J., Aguilar, J. A., Ahlers, M., . . . Zarzhitsky, P. (n.d.). Measurement of the atmospheric neutrino energy spectrum from 100 GeV to 400 TeV with IceCube. Physical Review D, 83(1). doi:10.1103/physrevd.83.012001

Most Cited Publications