A kilo-pixel imaging system for future space based far-infrared observatories using microwave kinetic inductance detectors
1 SRON–Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Terahertz Sensing Group, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 1, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
3 SRON–Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Landleven 12, 9747AD Groningen, The Netherlands
4 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Landleven 12, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands
5 Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Lorentzweg 1, 2628 CJ Delft, The Netherlands
6 Leiden Observatory, University of Leiden, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
7 Institut de RadioAstronomie Millimétrique (IRAM), 300 rue de la Piscine, 38406 Saint-Martin-d’Hères (Grenoble), France
8 Centro de Astrobiologia, Ctra de Torrejón a Ajalvir, km 4, 28850 Torrejon de Ardoz (Madrid), Spain
9 Cardiff school of Physics and Astronomy, The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AA, UK
Received: 5 September 2016
Accepted: 22 February 2017
Aims. Future astrophysics and cosmic microwave background space missions operating in the far-infrared to millimetre part of the spectrum will require very large arrays of ultra-sensitive detectors in combination with high multiplexing factors and efficient low-noise and low-power readout systems. We have developed a demonstrator system suitable for such applications.
Methods. The system combines a 961 pixel imaging array based upon Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) with a readout system capable of reading out all pixels simultaneously with only one readout cable pair and a single cryogenic amplifier. We evaluate, in a representative environment, the system performance in terms of sensitivity, dynamic range, optical efficiency, cosmic ray rejection, pixel-pixel crosstalk and overall yield at an observation centre frequency of 850 GHz and 20% fractional bandwidth.
Results. The overall system has an excellent sensitivity, with an average detector sensitivity measured using a thermal calibration source. At a loading power per pixel of 50 fW we demonstrate white, photon noise limited detector noise down to 300 mHz. The dynamic range would allow the detection of ~1 Jy bright sources within the field of view without tuning the readout of the detectors. The expected dead time due to cosmic ray interactions, when operated in an L2 or a similar far-Earth orbit, is found to be <4%. Additionally, the achieved pixel yield is 83% and the crosstalk between the pixels is <−30 dB.
Conclusions. This demonstrates that MKID technology can provide multiplexing ratios on the order of a 1000 with state-of-the-art single pixel performance, and that the technology is now mature enough to be considered for future space based observatories and experiments.
Key words: instrumentation: detectors / techniques: miscellaneous
© ESO, 2017