WSPEC: A Waveguide Filter-Bank Focal Plane Array Spectrometer for Millimeter Wave Astronomy and Cosmology

Sean Bryan, James Aguirre, George Che, Simon Doyle, Daniel Flanigan, Christopher Groppi, Bradley Johnson, Glenn Jones, Philip Mauskopf, Heather McCarrick, Alessandro Monfardini, Tony Mroczkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Imaging and spectroscopy at (sub-)millimeter wavelengths are key frontiers in astronomy and cosmology. Large area spectral surveys with moderate spectral resolution (R= 50 –200) will be used to characterize large-scale structure and star formation through intensity mapping surveys in emission lines such as the CO rotational transitions. Such surveys will also be used to study the the Sunyaev Zeldovich (SZ) effect, and will detect the emission lines and continuum spectrum of individual objects. WSPEC is an instrument proposed to target these science goals. It is a channelizing spectrometer realized in rectangular waveguide, fabricated using conventional high-precision metal machining. Each spectrometer is coupled to free space with a machined feed horn, and the devices are tiled into a 2D array to fill the focal plane of the telescope. The detectors will be aluminum lumped-element kinetic inductance detectors (LEKIDs). To target the CO lines and SZ effect, we will have bands at 135–175 and 190–250 GHz, each Nyquist-sampled at R≈ 200 resolution. Here, we discuss the instrument concept and design, and successful initial testing of a WR10 (i.e., 90 GHz) prototype spectrometer. We recently tested a WR5 (180 GHz) prototype to verify that the concept works at higher frequencies, and also designed a resonant backshort structure that may further increase the optical efficiency. We are making progress towards integrating a spectrometer with a LEKID array and deploying a prototype device to a telescope for first light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-122
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Kinetic inductance detectors
  • Millimeter waves
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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