The Atacama Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (AtLAST)

Pamela D. Klaassen, Tony K. Mroczkowski, Claudia Cicone, Evanthia Hatziminaoglou, Sabrina Sartori, Carlos De Breuck, Sean Bryan, Simon R. Dicker, Carlos Duran, Chris Groppi, Hans Kaercher, Ryohei Kawabe, Kotaro Kohno, James Geach

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

26 Scopus citations


The coldest and densest structures of gas and dust in the Universe have unique spectral signatures across the (sub-)millimetre bands (ν ≈30 - 950 GHz). The current generation of single dish facilities has given a glimpse of the potential for discovery, while sub-mm interferometers have presented a high resolution view into the finer details of known targets or in small-area deep fields. However, significant advances in our understanding of such cold and dense structures are now hampered by the limited sensitivity and angular resolution of our sub-mm view of the Universe at larger scales. In this context, we present the case for a new transformational astronomical facility in the 2030s, the Atacama Large Aperture Submillimetre Telescope (AtLAST). AtLAST is a concept for a 50-m-class single dish telescope, with a high throughput provided by a 2 deg - diameter Field of View, located on a high, dry site in the Atacama with good atmospheric transmission up to ν ∼1 THz, and fully powered by renewable energy. We envision AtLAST as a facility operated by an international partnership with a suite of instruments to deliver the transformative science that cannot be achieved with current or in-construction observatories. As an 50m-diameter telescope with a full complement of advanced instrumentation, including highly multiplexed high-resolution spectrometers, continuum cameras and integral field units, AtLAST will have mapping speeds hundreds of times greater than current or planned large aperture (< 12m) facilities. By reaching confusion limits below L∗ in the distant Universe, resolving low-mass protostellar cores at the distance of the Galactic Centre, and directly mapping both the cold and the hot (the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect) circumgalactic medium of galaxies, AtLAST will enable a fundamentally new understanding of the sub-mm Universe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VIII
EditorsHeather K. Marshall, Jason Spyromilio, Tomonori Usuda
ISBN (Electronic)9781510636774
StatePublished - 2020
EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VIII 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Dec 14 2020Dec 22 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes VIII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Bolometric
  • Design
  • Heterodyne
  • Integral field unit
  • Kinetic inductance detectors
  • Single-dish telescope
  • Submillimetre
  • Sustainable science
  • Throughput
  • mm-VLBI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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