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Published July 2015 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

The ARCONS Pipeline: Data Reduction for MKID Arrays


The Array Camera for Optical to Near-IR Spectrophotometry, or ARCONS, is a camera based on Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs), a new technology that has the potential for broad application in astronomy. Using an array of MKIDs, the instrument is able to produce time-resolved imaging and low-resolution spectroscopy constructed from detections of individual photons. The arrival time and energy of each photon are recorded in a manner similar to X-ray calorimetry, but at higher photon fluxes. The technique works over a very large wavelength range, is free from fundamental read noise and dark-current limitations, and provides microsecond-level timing resolution. Since the instrument reads out all pixels continuously while exposing, there is no loss of active exposure time to readout. The technology requires a different approach to data reduction compared to conventional CCDs. We outline here the prototype data reduction pipeline developed for ARCONS, though many of the principles are also more broadly applicable to energy-resolved photon counting arrays (e.g., transition edge sensors, superconducting tunnel junctions). We describe the pipeline's current status, and the algorithms and techniques employed in taking data from the arrival of photons at the MKID array to the production of images, spectra, and time-resolved light curves.

Additional Information

© 2015 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 November 26; accepted 2015 June 18; published 2015 July 27. We thank Shri Kulkarni and Tom Prince for the use of the Hale Telescope, and the staff of Palomar Observatory for their generous support. We are grateful to the anonymous referee for a careful and helpful review of our work. The MKID detectors used in this work were developed under NASA grant NNX11AD55G. The MKID digital readout was partially developed under NASA grant NNX10AF58G. S.R.M. and P.S. are supported by NASA Office of the Chief Technologists Space Technology Research Fellowships (NSTRF). J.C.v.E. was funded by a National Science Foundation ATI grant, number AST-1308556. This work was partially supported by the Keck Institute for Space Studies. Fermilab is operated by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC under Contract No. De-AC02- 07CH11359 with the United States Department of Energy. STSCI_PYTHON is a product of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA for NASA. This research made use of Astropy, a community-developed core Python package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration, et al. 2013). Based on observations obtained at the Hale Telescope, Palomar Observatory as part of a continuing collaboration between the California Institute of Technology, NASA/JPL, NOAO, Oxford University, Stony Brook University, and the National Astronomical Observatories of China. Facility: Hale (ARCONS)

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Published - 0067-0049_219_1_14.pdf

Submitted - 1507.05631v1.pdf


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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023