Manufacturing of cryogenic components for the JAST80 camera begins

2011-12-22 10:05
Comparison of a single 10.5k x 10.5k pixel sensor chip with a wristwatch. <i>Credit: STA</i>

Comparison of a single 10.5k x 10.5k pixel sensor chip with a wristwatch. Credit: STA

In mid-November, the Centro de Estudios de Física del Cosmos de Aragón (CEFCA) and US company Spectral Instruments signed a contract to provide the cryogenic camera system for the JAST80 telescope of the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre (OAJ).

The contract has a delivery timeframe of one year and includes the manufacture of the detector with its control electronics and the vacuum and cooling components. The contract was awarded through an international bidding process and has a total cost of 293.000 dollars.

The camera is specially designed to exploit the survey capabilities of the JAST80 telescope and will be devoted to the J-PLUS project (Javalambre Photometric Local Universe Survey), an all-sky photometric survey in twelve strategically chosen bands of the electromagnetic spectrum that will generate about 100 gigabytes of scientcific data per night.

Besides the scientific expoitation of the survey, J-PLUS will be also used to do the calibration tasks for the OAJ's main project, J-PAS (Javalambre Physics of the Accelerated Universe Survey), that will be carried out with the JST250 telescope.

The instrument, which is designed to operate in vacuum at temperatures of minus 110 degrees C, will contain a low-noise, high sensitivity, 10.500 x 10.500 9 micron pixel STA (Semiconductor Technology Associates) sensor. With almost 112 million pixel and measuring over 95 mm on a side, these detectors are the largest monolithic sensor chips in the world and each single image obtained with them occupy 200 megabytes of storage.

Once manufacturing is completed, finished instrument integration and testing will be carried out at the factory for preliminary acceptance and then brought to the telescope for final testing before firm acceptance.

Brazil's partnering institutions of the J-PAS collaboration have ordered Spectral Instruments a copy of the camera, which is simultaneously beeing built for the T80-South telescope that will be put in the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, in Chile.