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NIKA2 - A Revolutionary Imaging Instrument for Millimeter Waves sees First Light


NIKA2, the second generation Neel-IRAM-KID-Array, is a dual band camera operating simultaneously at 150 and 260 GHz. The instrument is based on large arrays of superconducting Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KID) operated at temperatures of 100 mK. NIKA2 is built by an international consortium, led by the Institute Neel, Grenoble France.
Successful installation took place in early October 2015 at the IRAM 30m telescope on Pico Veleta (Sierra Nevada, Spain).
NIKA2’s field of view has a 6.5 arcmin diameter with angular resolutions of 12 and 18 arcsec at 1 and 2mm wavelengths respectively.

NIKA2 is designed as a facility instrument which will remain at its present position for at least a decade. The science targets of NIKA2 are extremely wide spread ranging from solar system science over galactic star formation and polarization of dust in galactic ISM to various types of targets on cosmological distances.

The instrument consortium will carry out five dedicated large guaranteed time programs.

Only two weeks after installation, first testing and characterization of NIKA2 took place and showed that 80% of the KIDs were working nominally with sensitivities in line with the specifications and lab measurements. The preliminary set of readout electronics allowed to read simultaneously up to 60% of the 3300 KIDs installed. Further upgrades and in depth characterization of the instrument will take place in the coming year.

Opening for all IRAM users is expected to take place for winter semester 2016/17.

Below is a first light image obtained on DR21OH, a well-known star forming region inside the Cygnus X molecular cloud complex. Maps are 13 arcmin large, the angular resolution in each band is represented as a white disk at the bottom of the images.

More information :

The NIKA2 consortium involves scientists, engineers and technicians from Institut Neel, IPAG, LPSC, IRAM, IAS, IRAP, IEF, IAP, Paris Observatory, LAM, UCL, Cardiff University and ESO.

The NIKA2 consortium acknowledges support from ANR NIKA, ANR NIKA2Sky, ERC ORISTARS, FOCUS ENIGMASS, INP, INSIS, INSU, IN2P3, CNRS, CEA and UGA.

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