First results from desert star: A 7 pixel 345 GHz heterodyne array receiver for the heinrich hertz telescope

Christopher Groppi, C. K. Walker, C. Kulesa, D. Golish, A. Hedden, G. Narayanan, A. W. Lichtenberger, J. Kooi, U. U. Graf, S. Heyminck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


We present the first astronomical results from DesertSTAR, a 7 pixel heterodyne array receiver designed for operation in the astrophysically rich 345 GHz atmospheric window. DesertSTAR was constructed for the 10m Heinrich Hertz Telescope located at 3150m elevation on Mt. Graham, Arizona. This receiver promises to increase mapping speed at the HHT by a factor of ∼15 over the facility's existing single beam, dual polarization receiver. DesertSTAR uses tunerless, single-ended waveguide SIS mixers to achieve uncorrected receiver noise temperatures of ∼60K. The instantaneous bandwidth is 2 GHz, with a 5 GHz Intermediate Frequency, offering 1600 km/s of velocity coverage. Cryogenic isolators are employed between the mixers and low noise amplifiers to assure a flat IF passband. The system uses a Joule-Thompson closed-cycle refrigerator with 180W capacity at 70K and 1.8W capacity at 4K. A novel reflective phase grating is used for Local Oscillator multiplexing, while a simple Mylar beamsplitter is used as an LO diplexer. Optics include only polyethelene mixer lenses and a single, cold, flat mirror, maximizing simplicity for high efficiency and easy optical alignment. The computer controlled bias system provides low noise bias for the SIS junctions, magnets and LNAs through a modular and hardware independent GUI interface, and allows remote operation and monitoring. We present measurements of receiver noise, beam quality, efficiency and stability in addition to astronomical observations obtained during engineering runs at the HHT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsJ. Zmuidzinas, W.S. Holland, S. Withington
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors for Astronomy II - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 23 2004Jun 25 2004


OtherMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors for Astronomy II
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • SIS Heterodyne Array Receiver Submillimeter Molecular Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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