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Proceedings Paper

SuperCam: a 64-pixel heterodyne imaging array for the 870-micron atmospheric window
Author(s): Christopher Groppi; Christopher Walker; Craig Kulesa; Patrick Pütz; Dathon Golish; Paul Gensheimer; Abigail Hedden; Shane Bussmann; Sander Weinreb; Tom Kuiper; Jacob Kooi; Glenn Jones; Joseph Bardin; Hamdi Mani; Arthur Lichtenberger; Gopal Narayanan
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Paper Abstract

We report on the development of SuperCam, a 64 pixel, superheterodyne camera designed for operation in the astrophysically important 870 μm atmospheric window. SuperCam will be used to answer fundamental questions about the physics and chemistry of molecular clouds in the Galaxy and their direct relation to star and planet formation. The advent of such a system will provide an order of magnitude increase in mapping speed over what is now available and revolutionize how observational astronomy is performed in this important wavelength regime. Unlike the situation with bolometric detectors, heterodyne receiver systems are coherent, retaining information about both the amplitude and phase of the incident photon stream. From this information a high resolution spectrum of the incident light can be obtained without multiplexing. SuperCam will be constructed by stacking eight, 1×8 rows of fixed tuned, SIS mixers. The IF output of each mixer will be connected to a low-noise, broadband MMIC amplifier integrated into the mixer block. The instantaneous IF bandwidth of each pixel will be ~2 GHz, with a center frequency of 5 GHz. A spectrum of the central 500 MHz of each IF band will be provided by the array spectrometer. Local oscillator power is provided by a frequency multiplier whose output is divided between the pixels by using a matrix of waveguide power dividers. The mixer array will be cooled to 4K by a closed-cycle refrigeration system. SuperCam will reside at the Cassegrain focus of the 10m Heinrich Hertz telescope (HHT). A prototype single row of the array will be tested on the HHT in 2006, with the first engineering run of the full array in late 2007. The array is designed and constructed so that it may be readily scaled to higher frequencies.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 July 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6275, Millimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 62750O (6 July 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.671856
Show Author Affiliations
Christopher Groppi, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Christopher Walker, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Craig Kulesa, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Patrick Pütz, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Univ. zu Köln (Germany)
Dathon Golish, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Paul Gensheimer, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Abigail Hedden, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Shane Bussmann, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Sander Weinreb, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
California Institute of Technology (United States)
Tom Kuiper, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Jacob Kooi, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Glenn Jones, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Joseph Bardin, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Hamdi Mani, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Arthur Lichtenberger, Univ. of Virginia (United States)
Gopal Narayanan, Univ. of Massachusetts (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6275:
Millimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Jonas Zmuidzinas; Wayne S. Holland; Stafford Withington; William D. Duncan, Editor(s)

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