The European/Japanese SPace Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics, SPICA, will provide astronomers with a long awaited new window on the universe. Having a large cold telescope cooled to less than 8K above absolute zero, SPICA will provide a unique environment where instruments are limited only by the cosmic background itself. A consortium of European, north American and Asian institutes has been established to design and implement the SpicA FAR infrared Instrument SAFARI, an extremely sensitive spectrometer designed to fully exploit this extremely low far infrared background environment provided by the SPICA observatory.
SAFARI’s extremely sensitive Transition Edge Sensing detectors will allow astronomers to very efficiently obtain moderate to high resolution spectra of many thousands of obscured celestial objects in the far infrared, allowing a full spectroscopic characterisation of this objects. Efficiently obtaining such a large number of complete spectra will be essential to address several fundamental questions in current astrophysics: how do galaxies form and evolve over cosmic time?, what is the true nature of our own Milky Way?, and why and where do planets like those in our own solar system come into being?
The basic SAFARI instrument is a highly sensitive Grating Spectrometer with a spectral resolution R of about
300 and a line sensitivity of a few x 10^-20 W/√Hz (5σ-1h). By routing the signal through a Martin-Puplett interferometer a high resolution mode is implemented providing R~11000 at 34 μm to R~1500 at 230 μm.
The instrument operates in four wavelength bands, simultaneously covering the full 34-230μm range. Each band has three arrays of about 300 TES sensors providing three spatial and 300 spectral outputs. To limit the number of signal wires between the cold focal plan and the warm electronics units a 160 pixel/channel Frequency Domain Multiplexing scheme is employed.
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow us to assess directly the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, thus enabling the detailed study of the various processes that govern the formation and early evolution of stars and planetary systems in the Milky Way and of galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions, from IRAS to Herschel, have revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but sensitivity has been limited because up to now it has not been possible to fly a telescope that is both large and cold. Such a facility is essential to address key astrophysical questions, especially concerning galaxy evolution and the development of planetary systems.
SPICA is a mission concept aimed at taking the next step in mid- and far-infrared observational capability by combining a large and cold telescope with instruments employing state-of-the-art ultra-sensitive detectors. The mission concept foresees a 2.5-meter diameter telescope cooled to below 8 K. Rather than using liquid cryogen, a combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With cooling not dependent on a limited cryogen supply, the mission lifetime can extend significantly beyond the required three years. The combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors means that SPICA can provide a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
The SPICA instrument complement offers spectral resolving power ranging from ~50 through 11000 in the 17-230 µm domain as well as ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 µm. Additionally, SPICA will be capable of efficient 30-37 µm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging in the 100-350 µm range. SPICA will enable far infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5x10-20 W/m2 (5σ/1hr) - at least two orders of magnitude improvement over what has been attained to date. With this exceptional leap in performance, new domains in infrared astronomy will become accessible, allowing us, for example, to unravel definitively galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, to study dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, and to trace the formation history of planetary systems.
SAFARI is a point source spectrometer for the SPICA mission, which provides far-infrared spectroscopy and high sensitivity. SPICA mission, having a large cold telescope cooled to 6K above absolute zero, will provide an optimum environment where instruments are limited only by the cosmic background. SAFARI is a grating-based spectrometer with two modes of operation, Low Resolution (LR), or nominal mode (R~300) and High Resolution, (HR) (R~2000-11000). The SAFARI shall provide point source spectroscopy with diffraction-limited capability in four spectral bands over 34-230μm and a field of view (FoV) on sky over 2’×2’. Due to the complexity of the optical design of the SAFARI instrument a modular design was selected. Four principal modules are defined: Calibration Module (CS), Input Optics Module (IOM), Beam and Mode Distribution (BMDO) and Grating Modules (GMs). The present work is focused in the last module. Dispersive optical systems inherently demand the need of volume allocation for the optical system, being this fact somehow proportional to the wavelength and the required resolving power. The image sampling and the size of the detector elements are key drivers in this optical modular design. The optimization process has been performed taking into account the conceptual design parameters obtained during this phase such as collimator and camera optics focal lengths, subsystem diameters and periods and AOIs of the diffraction gratings.
We give an overview of the baseline detector system for SAFARI, the prime focal-plane instrument on board the proposed space infrared observatory, SPICA. SAFARI's detectors are based on superconducting Transition Edge Sensors (TES) to provide the extreme sensitivity (dark NEP≤2×10<sup>-19 </sup>W/√Hz) needed to take advantage of SPICA's cold (<8 K) telescope. In order to read out the total of ~3500 detectors we use frequency domain multiplexing (FDM) with baseband feedback. In each multiplexing channel, a two-stage SQUID preamplifier reads out 160 detectors. We describe the detector system and discuss some of the considerations that informed its design.
The next great leap forward in space-based far-infrared astronomy will be made by the Japanese-led SPICA mission, which is anticipated to be launched late 2020’s as the next large astrophysics mission of JAXA, in partnership with ESA and with key European contributions. Filling in the gap between JWST and ALMA, the SPICA mission will study the evolution of galaxies, stars and planetary systems. SPICA will utilize a deeply cooled 3m-class telescope, provided by European industry, to realize zodiacal background limited performance, high spatial resolution and large collecting area. <p> </p>Making full advantage of the deeply cooled telescope (<6K), the SAFARI instrument on SPICA is a highly sensitive wide-field imaging photometer and spectrometer operating in the 34-210 μm wavelength range. Utilizing Nyquist-sampled focal-plane arrays of very sensitive Transition Edge Sensors (TES), SAFARI will offer a photometric imaging (R ≈ 2), and a low (R = 100) and medium resolution (R = 2000 at 100 μm) imaging spectroscopy mode in three photometric bands within a 2’x2’ instantaneous FoV by means of a cryogenic Mach-Zehnder Fourier Transform Spectrometer. <p> </p>In this paper we will provide an overview of the SAFARI instrument design and system architecture. We will describe the reference design of the SAFARI focal- plane unit, the implementation of the various optical instrument functions designed around the central large-stroke FTS system, the photometric band definition and out-of-band filtering by quasioptical elements, the control of straylight, diffraction and thermal emission in the long-wavelength limit, and how we interface to the large-format FPA arrays at one end and the SPICA telescope assembly at the other end. <p> </p>We will briefly discuss the key performance drivers with special emphasis on the optical techniques adopted to overcome issues related to very low background operation of SAFARI. A summary and discussion of the expected instrument performance and an overview of the astronomical capabilities finally conclude the paper.
SpicA FAR infrared Instrument, SAFARI, is an imaging spectrometer which is being designed to map large areas of the sky in the far infrared. The SPICA mission, having a large cold telescope cooled to 6K above absolute zero, will provide an optimum environment where instruments are limited only by the cosmic background itself.
SpicA FAR infrared Instrument, SAFARI, is one of the instruments planned for the SPICA mission. The SPICA
mission is the next great leap forward in space-based far-infrared astronomy and will study the evolution of galaxies,
stars and planetary systems. SPICA will utilize a deeply cooled 2.5m-class telescope, provided by European industry, to
realize zodiacal background limited performance, and high spatial resolution. The instrument SAFARI is a cryogenic
grating-based point source spectrometer working in the wavelength domain 34 to 230 μm, providing spectral resolving
power from 300 to at least 2000.
The instrument shall provide low and high resolution spectroscopy in four spectral bands. Low Resolution mode is the
native instrument mode, while the high Resolution mode is achieved by means of a Martin-Pupplet interferometer.
The optical system is all-reflective and consists of three main modules; an input optics module, followed by the Band
and Mode Distributing Optics and the grating Modules. The instrument utilizes Nyquist sampled filled linear arrays of
very sensitive TES detectors.
The work presented in this paper describes the optical design architecture and design concept compatible with the
current instrument performance and volume design drivers.
The scientific goals of the far-infrared astronomy mission SPICA challenge the design of a large-stroke imaging FTS for Safari, inviting for the development of a new generation of cryogenic actuators with very low dissipation. In this paper we present the Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) system concept, as foreseen for SPICA-Safari, and we discuss the technical developments required to satisfy the instrument performance.
This paper describes the optical design of the far infrared imaging spectrometer for the JAXA’s SPICA mission. The SAFARI instrument, is a cryogenic imaging Fourier transform spectrometer (iFTS), designed to perform backgroundlimited spectroscopic and photometric imaging in the band 34-210 μm. The all-reflective optical system is highly modular and consists of three main modules; input optics module, interferometer module (FTS) and camera bay optics. A special study has been dedicated to the spectroscopic performance of the instrument, in which the spectral response and interference of the instrument have been modeled, as the FTS mechanism scans over the total desired OPD range.
The Japanese SPace Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics, SPICA, aims to provide astronomers with a truly new window on the universe. With a large -3 meter class- cold -6K- telescope, the mission provides a unique low background environment optimally suited for highly sensitive instruments limited only by the cosmic background itself. SAFARI, the SpicA FAR infrared Instrument SAFARI, is a Fourier Transform imaging spectrometer designed to fully exploit this extremely low far infrared background environment. The SAFARI consortium, comprised of European and Canadian institutes, has established an instrument reference design based on a Mach-Zehnder interferometer stage with outputs directed to three extremely sensitive Transition Edge Sensor arrays covering the 35 to 210 μm domain. The baseline instrument provides R > 1000 spectroscopic imaging capabilities over a 2’ by 2’ field of view. A number of modifications to the instrument to extend its capabilities are under investigation. With the reference design SAFARI’s sensitivity for many objects is limited not only by the detector NEP but also by the level of broad band background radiation – the zodiacal light for the shorter wavelengths and satellite baffle structures for the longer wavelengths. Options to reduce this background are dedicated masks or dispersive elements which can be inserted in the optics as required. The resulting increase in sensitivity can directly enhance the prime science goals of SAFARI; with the expected enhanced sensitivity astronomers would be in a better position to study thousands of galaxies out to redshift 3 and even many hundreds out to redshifts of 5 or 6. Possibilities to increase the wavelength resolution, at least for the shorter wavelength bands, are investigated as this would significantly enhance SAFARI’s capabilities to study star and planet formation in our own galaxy.
We present the current status of SPICA (Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics), which is a mission optimized for mid- and far-infrared astronomy with a cryogenically cooled 3.2 m telescope. SPICA is expected to achieve high spatial resolution and unprecedented sensitivity in the mid- and far-infrared, which will enable us to address a number of key problems in present-day astronomy, ranging from the star-formation history of the universe to the formation of planets. We have carried out the “Risk Mitigation Phase” activity, in which key technologies essential to the realization of the mission have been extensively developed. Consequently, technical risks for the success of the mission have been significantly mitigated. Along with these technical activities, the international collaboration framework of SPICA had been revisited, which resulted in maintenance of SPICA as a JAXA-led mission as in the original plan but with larger contribution of ESA than that in the original plan. To enable the ESA participation, a SPICA proposal to ESA is under consideration as a medium-class mission under the framework of the ESA Cosmic Vision. The target launch year of SPICA under the new framework is FY2025.
The Japanese SPace Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics, SPICA, will provide astronomers with a long
awaited new window on the universe. Having a large cold telescope cooled to only 6K above absolute zero, SPICA will
provide a unique environment where instruments are limited only by the cosmic background itself. A consortium of
European and Canadian institutes has been established to design and implement the SpicA FAR infrared Instrument
SAFARI, an imaging spectrometer designed to fully exploit this extremely low far infrared background environment
provided by the SPICA observatory.
SAFARI’s large instantaneous field of view combined with the extremely sensitive Transition Edge Sensing detectors
will allow astronomers to very efficiently map large areas of the sky in the far infrared – in a square degree survey of a
1000 hours many thousands of faint sources will be detected, and a very large fraction of these sources will be fully
spectroscopically characterised by the instrument. Efficiently obtaining such a large number of complete spectra is
essential to address several fundamental questions in current astrophysics: how do galaxies form and evolve over cosmic
time?, what is the true nature of our own Milky Way?, and why and where do planets like those in our own solar system
come into being?
In the far-infrared (FIR) / THz regime the angular (and often spectral) resolution of observing facilities is still very
restricted despite the fact that this frequency range has become of prime importance for modern astrophysics. ALMA
(Atacama Large Millimeter Array) with its superb sensitivity and angular resolution will only cover frequencies up to
about 1 THz, while the HIFI instrument for ESA'a Herschel Space Observatory will provide limited angular resolution
(10 to 30 arcsec) up to 2 THz. Observations of regions with star and planet formation require extremely high angular
resolution as well as frequency resolution in the full THz regime. In order to open these regions for high-resolution
astrophysics we present a study concept for a heterodyne space interferometer, ESPRIT (Exploratory Submm Space
Radio-Interferometric Telescope). This mission will cover the Terahertz regime inaccessible from the ground and outside
the operating range of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
This paper describes the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI), to be launched onboard of ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, by 2008. It includes the first results from the instrument level tests. The instrument is designed to be electronically tuneable over a wide and continuous frequency range in the Far Infrared, with velocity resolutions better than 0.1 km/s with a high sensitivity. This will enable detailed investigations of a wide variety of astronomical sources, ranging from solar system objects, star formation regions to nuclei of galaxies.
The instrument comprises 5 frequency bands covering 480-1150 GHz with SIS mixers and a sixth dual frequency band, for the 1410-1910 GHz range, with Hot Electron Bolometer Mixers (HEB). The Local Oscillator (LO) subsystem consists of a dedicated Ka-band synthesizer followed by 7 times 2 chains of frequency multipliers, 2 chains for each frequency band. A pair of Auto-Correlators and a pair of Acousto-Optic spectrometers process the two IF signals from the dual-polarization front-ends to provide instantaneous frequency coverage of 4 GHz, with a set of resolutions (140 kHz to 1 MHz), better than < 0.1 km/s. After a successful qualification program, the flight instrument was delivered and entered the testing phase at satellite level. We will also report on the pre-flight test and calibration results together with the expected in-flight performance.
In the far-infrared (FIR) / THz regime the angular (and often spectral) resolution of observing facilities is still very restricted despite the fact that this frequency range has become of prime importance for modern astrophysics. ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) with its superb sensitivity and angular resolution will only cover frequencies up to about 1 THz, while the HIFI instrument for ESA'a Herschel Space Observatory will provide limited angular resolution (10 to 30 arcsec) up to 2 THz. Observations of regions with star and planet formation require extremely high angular resolution as well as frequency resolution in the full THz regime. In order to open these regions for high-resolution astrophysics we propose a heterodyne space interferometer mission, ESPRIT (Exploratory Submm Space Radio-Interferometric Telescope), for the Terahertz regime inaccessible from ground and outside the operating range of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The far-infrared (FIR) wavelength regime has become of prime importance for astrophysics. Observations of ionic, atomic and molecular lines, many of them present in the FIR, provide important and unique information on the star and planet formation process occurring in interstellar clouds, and on the lifecycle of gas and dust in general.
As these regions are heavily obscured by dust, FIR observations are the only means of getting insight in the physical and chemical conditions and their evolution. These investigations require, besides high spectral, also high angular resolution in order to match the small angular sizes of star forming cores and circum-stellar disks. We present here a mission concept, ESPRIT, which will provide both, in a wavelength regime not accessible from ground by ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), nor with JWST (James Webb Space Telescope).
The Short-Wavelength Spectrometer (SWS) is one of the four focal plane instruments of ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). The satellite was launched on November 15, 1995 with a super fluid Helium content of about 2300 liters to keep the telescope, the scientific payload and the optical baffles at operating temperatures between 2 and 8 K. On April 8, 1998 the liquid Helium depleted and the instruments were switched-off when the focal plane reached a temperature of 4.2 K. A satellite engineering test program was conducted between April 20 and May 10. Timeslots before and during the test program were used to operate the InSb detectors of the SWS instrument while the temperature of the focal plane slowly increased up to 40 K. The instrument was used to record spectra of 260 stars between 2.36 and 4.05 microns at a resolution of 2000 and with high S/N. Goal of the program was to observe a set of stars covering the entire MK spectral classification scheme to extend this classification scheme to the infrared. We discuss changes in the instrument relevant for operating and calibrating the instrument at temperatures above 4K: changes in the InSb detector behavior (dark levels, noise, response, ...), behavior of the JFETs and geometry changes in the grating scanner mechanism. We also show that the calibration of the data obtained after Helium loss is accurate, resulting in a data set of great scientific value.
The short wavelength spectrometer (SWS) is one of the four instruments on-board of ESA's IR SPace Observatory (ISO), launched on 15 November 1995. It covers the wavelength range of 2.38-45.2 microns with a spectral resolution ranging from 1000-2000. By inserting Fabry-Perot filters the resolution can be enhanced by a factor 20 for the wavelength range from 11.4-44.5 microns. After the successful launch the instrument was tested and calibrated during a period of spacecraft checkout and performance verification. The opto- mechanical construction of the instrument appears to behave extremely well. The instrument performance is on all aspects as expected, except for the detector sensitivity where the noise is dominated by effects of particle radiation. We given here an overview of the in-orbit performance, discuss the calibration and present some result from trend analysis of the most important instrument and detector parameters.
We describe the preliminary design of the proposed Heterodyne Instrument for FIRST (HIFI). The instrument will have a continuous frequency coverage over the range from 480 to 1250 GHz in five bands, while a sixth band will provide coverage for 1410 - 1910 GHz and 2400 - 2700 GHz. The first five bands will use SIS mixers and varactor frequency multipliers while in the sixth band a laser photomixer local oscillator will pump HEB mixers. HIFI will have an instantaneous bandwidth of 4 GHz, analyzed in parallel by two types of spectrometers: a pair of wide-band spectrometers (WBS), and a pair of high- resolution spectrometer (HRS). The wide-band spectrometer will use acousto-optic technology with a frequency resolution of 1 MHz and a bandwidth of 4 GHz for each of the two polarizations. The HRS will provide two combinations of bandwidth and resolution: 1 GHz bandwidth at 200 kHz resolution, and at least 500 MHz at 100 kHz resolution. The HRS will be divided into 4 or 5 sub-bands, each of which can be placed anywhere within the full 4 GHz IF band. The instrument will be able to perform rapid and complete spectral line surveys with resolving powers from 10<SUP>3</SUP> up to 10<SUP>7</SUP> (300 - 0.03 km/s) and deep line observations.
The Far InfraRed and Submillimeter Telescope (FIRST) is the last of the four Cornerstone Missions in the 'Horizon 2000' long term science plan of the European Space Agency (ESA) and as an observatory type mission it will be open to the international astronomical community. Its launch is presently foreseen for the end of 2005. The nominal mission duration will be 4.5 years and the active archive phase 3 years. Taking into account the experience from other ESA missions and in order to minimize costs, the ground segment for FIRST scientific operations will be structured in a novel 'decentralized' way, creating centers of competence.