19 July 2008 Sensitive far-IR survey spectroscopy: BLISS for SPICA
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Abstract
We present a concept for BLISS, a sensitive far-IR-submillimeter spectrograph for SPICA. SPICA is a JAXA-led mission featuring a 3.5-meter telescope actively cooled to below 5K, envisioned for launch in 2017. The low-background platform is especially compelling for moderate-resolution survey spectroscopy, for which BLISS is designed. The BLISS / SPICA combination will offer line sensitivities below 10-20W m-2 in modest integrations, enabling rapid survey spectroscopy of galaxies out to redshift 5. The far-IR fine-structure and molecular transitions which BLISS / SPICA will measure are immune to dust extinction, and will unambiguously reveal these galaxies' redshifts, stellar and AGN contents, gas properties, and heavy-element abundances. Taken together, such spectra will reveal the history of galaxies from 1 GY after the Big Bang to the present day. BLISS is comprised of five sub-bands, each with two R ~ 700 grating spectrometer modules. The modules are configured with polarizing and dichroic splitters to provide complete instantaneous spectral coverage in two sky positions. To approach background-limited performance, BLISS detectors must have sensitivities at or below 5 × 10-20W Hz-1/2, and the format is 10 arrays of several hundred pixels each. It is anticipated that these requirements can be met on SPICA's timescale with leg-isolated superconducting (TES) bolometers cooled with a 50 mK magnetic refrigerator.
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C. M. Bradford, Matt Kenyon, Warren Holmes, James Bock, Timothy Koch, "Sensitive far-IR survey spectroscopy: BLISS for SPICA", Proc. SPIE 7020, Millimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 70201O (19 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.790156; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.790156
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