Abstract

We constructed a 24-pixel bolometer camera operating in the 350- and 450-μm atmospheric windows for the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO). This instrument uses a monolithic silicon bolometer array that is cooled to approximately 300 mK by a single-shot 3He refrigerator. First-stage amplification is provided by field-effect transistors at approximately 130 K. The sky is imaged onto the bolometer array by means of several mirrors outside the Dewar and a cold off-axis elliptical mirror inside the cryostat. The beam is defined by cold aperture and field stops, which eliminates the need for any condensing horns. We describe the instrument, present measurements of the physical properties of the bolometer array, describe the performance of the electronics and the data-acquisition system, and demonstrate the sensitivity of the instrument operating at the observatory. Approximate detector noise at 350 μm is 5×1015W/Hz, referenced to the entrance of the Dewar, and the CSO system noise-equivalent flux density is approximately 4Jy/Hz. These values are within a factor of 2.5 of the background limit.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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