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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350 $\mu$m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200 $\mu$m images will also have a factor $\sim $30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
Submillimeter dust continuum emission traces high molecular column densities and, thus,
dense cloud regions in which new stars are forming. Surveys of the Galactic plane in such
emission have the potential of delivering an unbiased view of high-mass star formation
throughout the Milky Way. The location of the APEX telescope on the Chajnantor plateau in
Chile is ideally suited for mapping the inner Galaxy. ATLASGAL, The APEX Telescope Large
Area Survey of the Galaxy at 870 μm, is a survey of the Galactic plane
using the Large APEX Bolometer Camera (LABOCA), in the Galactic longitude and latitude
ranges of ±60 and ±1.5°, respectively. This survey is providing an unbiased sample of
cold dusty clumps in the Galaxy at submillimeter wavelength and a variety of molecular
line follow-up observations have been started to characterize the physical and chemical
conditions in the newly found clumps. Here, first results from this survey and its
follow-up programs are described.
ArTeMiS is a bolometer camera that will be installed at the APEX submillimeter telescope in Chile in 2010. This instrument will be a powerful tool for scientists with its three focal planes that will operate simultaneously in background limited conditions at 200, 350 and 450 microns (5760 pixels in total). A prototype called p-ArTeMiS has been tested at APEX in 2007 and thanks to its good performances, the team has been able to conduct scientific projects in star formation and on debris disks. This paper summarises the details of the ArTeMiS project, with a description of the detectors, the optics, the cryogenics and the electronics. We will also present the undergoing studies at CEA on detectors for the future submillimeter space missions.
Astronomical observations at sub-millimetre wavelengths are limited
either by the angular resolution of the telescope or by the
sensitivity and field of view of the detector array. New generation
of radio telescopes, such as the APEX 12-m telescope on Chajnantor
plateau in Chile, can overcome these limitations if they are
equipped with large detector arrays made of thousands of sensitive
bolometer pixels. Instrumentation developments undertaken at CEA and
based on the all silicon technology of CEA/Leti are able to provide
such large detector arrays. The ArTeMiS project at CEA Saclay, in
partnership with IAS, IAP and CRTBT, consists in developing a
4000-pixel bolometer camera for ground-based telescopes that
operates in atmospheric windows at 200–450 μm (Talvard et al.
2006, SPIE, 6275).
Accompanying the development of the PACS photometer camera (60–210 μm)
on the Herschel Space Observatory, CEA/SAp and CEA/LETI have developed a
new type of filled bolometer arrays. We present a camera using these “CCD-like”
detectors for ground-based submillimeter applications. Such an instrument could
potentially be operated in all atmospheric windows between 200 and 870 μm
on a submillimetre-wave single-dish telescope at Dome C. A bolometer array
could consist of several monolithic units of 16 × 16 pixels (as an
example the blue and red PACS arrays consist of 4 × 2 and 2 × 1 units,
respectively), providing a full sampling of the focal plane.
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