The MUSCAT Readout Electronics Backend: Design and Pre-deployment Performance

S. Rowe, M. Tapia, P. S. Barry, K. S. Karkare, A. Papageorgiou, P. A.R. Ade, T. L.R. Brien, E. Castillo-Domínguez, D. Ferrusca, V. Gómez-Rivera, P. Hargrave, J. L. Hernández-Rebollar, A. Hornsby, J. M. Jáuregui-García, P. Mauskopf, D. Murias, E. Pascale, A. Pérez, M. W.L. Smith, C. TuckerM. Velázquez, S. Ventura, D. H. Hughes, S. Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MUSCAT is a new large-format 1.1 mm continuum camera for local and extra-galactic astronomy currently being installed at the 50 m Large Millimetre Telescope Alfonso Serrano, LMT. The focal plane is populated with 1458 feedhorn coupled Aluminium LEKIDs, cooled to 130 mk, and read out with 6 frequency division multiplexed RF readout chains, each with a 500 MHz bandwidth. The nominal mux ratio is ∼ 250 resonators per chain with an average spacing of 2 MHz between resonators. In each RF chain, the multiplexed waveform generation/decomposition is performed with the BLAST-TNG firmware on a ROACH2 FPGA board with a MUSIC DAC/ADC. The quadrature modulated IF signals are mixed to and from the LEKID readout band on a custom card that houses IQ mixers, a programmable synthesizer, and additional programmable input and output gain control and filtering. Within the cryostat, the RF signals are attenuated prior to reaching the focal plane array and then amplified at 4K. A novel software system controls all the programmable hardware and handles instructions from the LMT instrument control system to record and store observation data, as well as performing automated resonator retuning and providing results of quick look analysis to the telescope operators. In this paper, we present the detailed design and in-lab performance of the cryogenic and room temperature electronics, and the software control system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Astronomy instrumentation
  • Kinetic inductance detectors
  • Millimetre astronomy
  • Multiplexing readout electronics
  • Submillimetre astronomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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