SuperSpec is an on-chip filter-bank spectrometer designed for wideband moderate-resolution spectroscopy at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. Employing TiN kinetic inductance detectors, the device has demonstrated noise performance suitable for photon noise limited ground-based observations at excellent millimeter-wave observing sites. In these proceedings we present a demonstration instrument featuring six independent single-polarization SuperSpec chips, covering 190-310 GHz with 300 channels. We summarize spectrometer performance, describe the cryostat and optical coupling, and present the readout and telescope control system. In an initial deployment to the Large Millimeter Telescope, we plan to observe submillimeter galaxies in [CII] emission at redshifts 5 < z < 9 and CO emission from lower-redshift galaxies. Real on-sky performance will inform the design of the next generation of instruments using large numbers of SuperSpec devices, which could include multi-object spectrometers or line intensity mapping experiments that target [CII] during the Epoch of Reionization.
SuperSpec is a new technology for millimeter and submillimeter spectroscopy. It is an on-chip spectrometer being developed for multi-object, moderate resolution (R = ~300), large bandwidth survey spectroscopy of high-redshift galaxies for the 1 mm atmospheric window. SuperSpec targets the CO ladder in the redshift range of z = 0 to 4, the [CII] 158 um line from z = 5 to 9, and the [NII] 205 um line from z = 4-7. All together these lines offer complete redshift coverage from z = 0 to 9. SuperSpec employs a novel architecture in which detectors are coupled to a series of resonant filters along a single microwave feedline instead of using dispersive optics. This construction allows for the creation of a full spectrometer occupying only 20 cm squared of silicon, a reduction in size of several orders of magnitude when compared to standard grating spectrometers. This small profile enables the production of future multi-object spectroscopic instruments required as the millimeter-wave spectroscopy field matures.
SuperSpec uses a lens-coupled antenna to deliver astrophysical radiation to a microstrip transmission line. The radiation then propagates down this transmission line where upon proximity coupled half wavelength microstrip resonators pick off specific frequencies of radiation. Careful tuning of the proximity of the resonators to the feedline dials in the desired resolving power of the SuperSpec filterbank by tuning the coupling quality factor. The half wavelength resonators are then in turn coupled to the inductive meander of kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs), which serve as the power detectors for the SuperSpec filterbank. Each SuperSpec filter bank contains hundreds of titanium nitride TiN KIDs and the natural multiplexibility of these detectors allow for readout of the large numbers of required detectors. The unique coupling scheme employed by SuperSpec allows for the creation of incredibly low volume (2.6 cubic microns), high responsivity, TiN KIDs. Since responsivity is proportional to the inverse of quasiparticle-occupied volume, this allows SuperSpec to reach the low NEPs required by moderate resolution spectroscopy to be photon limited from the best ground-based observing sites.
We will present the latest results from SuperSpec devices. In particular, detector NEPs, measured filter bank efficiency (including transmission line losses), and spectral profiles for a full ~ 300-channel filterbank. Finally, we will report on our system end to end efficiency and total system NEP.
SuperSpec is an integrated, on-chip spectrometer for millimeter and sub-millimeter astronomy. We report the approach, design optimization, and partial characterization of a 300 channel filterbank covering the 185 to 315 GHz frequency band that targets a resolving power R ~ 310, and fits on a 3.5×5.5 cm chip. SuperSpec uses a lens and broadband antenna to couple radiation into a niobium microstrip that feeds a bank of niobium microstrip half-wave resonators for frequency selectivity. Each half-wave resonator is coupled to the inductor of a titanium nitride lumped-element kinetic inductance detector (LEKID) that detects the incident radiation. The device was designed for use in a demonstration instrument at the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT).
SuperSpec is a new spectrometer-on-a-chip technology for submm/mm-wave spectroscopy. SuperSpec stands out from other direct-detection submm spectrometer technologies in that the detectors are coupled to a series of resonant filters along a single microwave feedline instead of using dispersive optics. SuperSpec makes use of kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs) to detect radiation in this filter bank. The small profile of this design makes SuperSpec a natural choice to produce a multi-object spectrometer for tomographic mapping or galaxy redshift surveys. We have recently fabricated a device that is a 50 channel subset of a full 280 channel filter bank, which would cover the 190 - 310 GHz range at R = 275. Analysis of the data from this device informs us of the potential design modifications to enable a high-yield background-limited SuperSpec spectrometer. The results indicate that this subset filter bank can scale up to a full filter bank with only a few collisions in readout space and less than 20% variation in responsivity for the detectors. Additionally, the characterization of this and other prototype devices suggests that the noise performance is limited by generation-recombination noise. Finally, we find that the detectors are sufficiently sensitive for ground-based spectroscopy at R = 100, appropriate for tomographic mapping experiments. Further modifications are required to reach the background limit for R = 400, ideal for spectroscopy of individual galaxies.