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Published July 18, 2008 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

A microwave kinetic inductance camera for sub/millimeter astrophysics


The MKID Camera is a millimeter/submillimeter instrument being built for astronomical observations from the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory. It utilizes microwave kinetic inductance detectors, which are rapidly achieving near-BLIP sensitivity for ground-based observations, and a software-defined radio readout technique for elegant multiplexing of a large number of detectors. The Camera will have 592 pixels distributed over 16 tiles in the focal plane, with four colors per pixel matched to the 750 μm, 850 μm, and 1.0 - 1.5 mm (split in two) atmospheric transmission windows. As a precursor to building the full-up camera and to enable ongoing detector testing, we have built a DemoCam comprised of a 16-pixel MKID array with which we have made preliminary astronomical observations. These observations demonstrate the viability of MKIDs for submillimeter astronomy, provide insight into systematic design issues that must be considered for MKID-based instruments, and they are the first astronomical observations with antenna-coupled superconducting detectors. In this paper, we describe the basic systems and specifications of the MKID Camera, we describe our DemoCam observations, and we comment on the status of submillimeter MKID sensitivities.

Additional Information

© 2008 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). We gratefully acknowledge the support of NASA (grant NNG06GG16G), the NSF (grant AST-0705157) and the generous contributions of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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