CSOLOGO1 CSOLOGO2 MKID Multicolor Submillimeter/Millimeter-wave Camera Prototype Achieved First Light

   A group consisting of Jonas Zmuidzinas and Sunil Golwara at Caltech,  Jason Glenn at University of Colorado (UC), and Peter Day, Rick LeDuc, Ben Mazin, and Hien Nguyen at JPL have been pursing the development of a multicolor submillimeter/millimeter-wave camera based on antenna-coupled Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs).   The camera will be the first application of MKIDs in an astronomical instrument with potentially world-leading sensitivity.  The technology of the MKIDs camera may be used for future space missions such as SAFIR, for which JPL is a leading proponent. In April, 2007, we had a very successful first run with the prototype camera (Figure 1), in which we obtained images of Jupiter and Saturn (Figure 2).   

  This next generation camera has been under development by Zmuidzinas at Caltech, Day, LeDuc, and Mazin at JPL since 2000, first with seed funding from Caltech trustee Alex Lidow and later with funding from the NASA Astronomy and Physics Research and Analysis (APRA) program and JPL's internal Research and Technology Development fund. The MKIDs camera can take four colors (750 µm, 850 µm, and 1mm, 1.4 mm) images at the same time.  The prototype has 16 pixels.  The camera with final design consists of 600 pixels each sensing the four colors in the submillimeter/millimeter bands.  National Science Foundation's Astronomy Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation (AST/ATI) program approved the proposal to build the camera over the period 2007-2010.  People anticipate using the camera to do novel work in the fields of submillimeter galaxies, galactic star formation, and Sunyaev-Zeldovich studies of massive galaxy clusters.

   A second run with the prototype camera, expected to be in early 2008, would allow us to verify the design changes and proceed with the full-size camera with confidence. We expect to begin to do significant science with the second run, also -- a focal plane of 16 pixels is large enough to do follow-up observations of galactic star-forming cores and nearby and distant ultraluminous dusty galaxies, and the four colors will provide information on the spectral energy distributions of these sources.


Figure 1.  The Prototype MKIDs Camera. 

Figure 2. First-light image of Jupiter with one antenna-coupled MKID pixel, taken in April 2007 at 1millimeter band. 

Paper that describes the technology implemented in the MKIDs camera:  Peter K. Day, Henry G. LeDuc, Benjamin A. Mazin, Anastasios Vayonakis, and Jonas Zmudzinas, "A broadband superconducting detector suitable for in large arrays" Nature 425, 2003 817

Go back to A Digest of Recent News and Scientific Results at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory