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Proceedings Paper

Instrumentation for the next generation cryogenic spaceborne far-IR observatories
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Paper Abstract

We present scientific rationale, concepts and technologies for far-IR (λ=35-600 μm) instrumentation for the cryogenic single-dish space telescopes envisioned for the next two decades. With the tremendous success of Spitzer, the stage is set for larger (3-10 meter) actively-cooled telescopes and several are under consideration including SPICA in Japan, and CALISTO/SAFIR in the US. The cold platforms offer the potential for far-IR observations limited only by the zodiacal dust emission and other diffuse astrophysical foregrounds. Optimal instrumentation for these missions includes large-format direct-detector arrays with sensitivity matched to the low photon backgrounds. This will require major improvements relative to the current state of the art, especially for wavelengths beyond the 38-micron silicon BIB cutoff, We review options and present progress with one approach: superconducting bolometers. We highlight in particular the scientific potential for moderate-resolution broadband spectroscopy. The large cold telescopes can provide line sensitivities below 10-20 W m-2, enabling the first routine survey spectroscopy of the redshift 0.5 to 5 galaxies that produced the cosmic far-IR background. These far-IR-bright dusty galaxies account for half of the photon energy released since stars and galaxies began forming, and the new far-IR spectroscopic capability will reveal their energy sources and chart their history. We describe concepts for the background-limited IR-Submillimeter Spectrograph (BLISS) designed for this purpose. BLISS is a suite of R~1000 spectrometer modules spanning the far-IR range, and is under study for SPICA; a similar but more capable instrument can be scaled for CALISTO/SAFIR.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 October 2007
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 6687, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes: Innovative Technologies and Concepts III, 66870O (18 October 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.732657
Show Author Affiliations
C. Matt Bradford, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Paul F. Goldsmith, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Mark Dragovan, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Matt Kenyon, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Warren Holmes, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Harold Yorke, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6687:
UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes: Innovative Technologies and Concepts III
Howard A. MacEwen; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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