Improved mm-wave photometry for kinetic inductance detectors

M. Calvo, M. Roesch, F. X. Désert, A. Monfardini, A. Benoit, Philip Mauskopf, P. Ade, N. Boudou, O. Bourrion, P. Camus, A. Cruciani, S. Doyle, C. Hoffmann, S. Leclercq, J. F. MacIas-Perez, N. Ponthieu, K. F. Schuster, C. Tucker, C. Vescovi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Context. We have developed a dual-band (140 and 220 GHz) mm-wave imaging camera based on superconducting kinetic inductance detector (KID) arrays. Each array contains 132 superconducting resonators whose resonant frequencies are shifted by mm-wave photons absorption. The read out is achieved with a single electronics chain per band, taking advantage of the intrinsic KID frequency-domain multiplexability. The arrays are easily scalable and well adapted for future large format focal plane instruments. NIKA (formerly Néel IRAM KID Array, now New IRAM KID Array) has been specifically designed for the IRAM 30 m telescope at Pico Veleta, and is one of the first instruments using KIDs to have made measurements of astronomical sources. Aims. In this Letter we describe the solutions adopted to improve the calibration accuracy and the sensitivity of the instrument, and we report on the outcome of the 3rd NIKA observing run of October, 2011. Methods. We use a fast electronic modulation of the readout tone for each KID pixel in order to linearize the instrument calibration, which we track with measurements of planets. We also adopt a new design of the KIDs, sensitive to both polarizations, to increase the amount of radiation absorbed and thus the optical efficiency of the system. Results. We measured an average sensitivity on the sky of 21 mJys0.5 per beam at 140 GHz and 140 mJys0.5 at 220 GHz in the best observing conditions (τ220-0.2) after atmospheric noise decorrelation. The sensitivity at 220 GHz was limited by the atmospheric attenuation and loading as well as a reduction in the spectral bandwidth due to a misplaced filter. We found the repeatability in the photometry over the entire observing run to be better than 10% in both bands, thus demonstrating a significant improvement over the previous runs. We also find good agreement between NIKA measurements of faint astronomical sources and previous measurements of the same sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL12
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 2013


  • Instrumentation: detectors
  • Methods: observational
  • Techniques: photometric
  • Telescopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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