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Instrument design and radiation pattern testing for terahertz astronomical instruments

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The Milky Way galaxy is a powerful dynamic system that is highly efficient at recycling material. Stars are born out of intergalactic gas and dust, fuse light elements into heavier

The Milky Way galaxy is a powerful dynamic system that is highly efficient at recycling material. Stars are born out of intergalactic gas and dust, fuse light elements into heavier elements in their cores, then upon stellar death spread material throughout the galaxy, either by diffusion of planetary nebula or by explosive events for high mass stars, and that gas must cool and condense to form stellar nurseries. Though the stellar lifecycle has been studied in detail, relatively little is known about the processes by which hot, diffuse gas ejected by dying stars cools and conglomerates in the interstellar medium (ISM). Much of this mystery arises because only recently have instruments with sufficient spatial and spectral resolution, sensitivity, and bandwidth become available in the terahertz (THz) frequency spectrum where these clouds peak in either thermal or line emission. In this dissertation, I will demonstrate technology advancement of instruments in this frequency regime with new characterization techniques, machining strategies, and scientific models of the spectral behavior of gas species targeted by these instruments.

I begin this work with a description of radiation pattern measurements and their use in astronomical instrument characterization. I will introduce a novel technique to measure complex (phase-sensitive) field patterns using direct detectors. I successfully demonstrate the technique with a single pixel microwave inductance detectors (MKID) experiment. I expand that work by measuring the APEX MKID (A-MKID) focal plane array of 880 pixel detectors centered at 350 GHz. In both chapters I discuss the development of an analysis pipeline to take advantage of all information provided by complex field mapping. I then discuss the design, simulation, fabrication processes, and characterization of a circular-to-rectangular waveguide transformer module integrated into a circularly symmetric feedhorn block. I conclude with a summary of this work and how to advance these technologies for future ISM studies.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Deep imaging of distant galaxies using the large binocular telescope

Description

In the past three decades with the deployment of space-based from x-rays to infrared telescopes and operation of 8-10 m class ground based telescopes, a hand-full of regions of the

In the past three decades with the deployment of space-based from x-rays to infrared telescopes and operation of 8-10 m class ground based telescopes, a hand-full of regions of the sky have emerged that probe the distant universe over relatively wide fields with the aim of understanding the assembly of apparently faint galaxies. To explore this new frontier, observations were made with the Large Binocular Cameras (LBCs) on the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) of a well-studied deep field, GOODS-North, which has been observed by a wide range of telescopes from the radio to x-ray. I present a study of the trade-off between depth and resolution using a large number of LBT/LBC U-band and R-band imaging observations in the GOODS-N field. Having acquired over 30 hours of data (315 images with 5-6 minute exposures) for U-band and 27 hours for R-band (828 images with 2 minute exposures), multiple mosaics were generated, starting with images taken under the best atmospheric conditions (FWHM <0.8"). For subsequent mosaics, data with coarser seeing values were added in until the final, deepest mosaic included all images with FWHM <1.8". For each mosaic, object catalogs were made to compare the optimal-resolution, yet shallower image to the low-resolution but deeper image. For the brightest galaxies within the GOODS-N field, structure and clumpy features within the galaxies are more prominent in the optimal-resolution image compared to the deeper mosaics. I conclude that for studies of brighter galaxies and features within them, the optimal-resolution image should be used. However, to fully explore and understand the faintest objects, the deeper imaging with lower resolution are also required. For the 220 and 360 brightest galaxies in the U-band and R-band images respectively, there is only a marginal difference between the optimal-resolution and lower-resolution light-profiles and their integrated total fluxes. This helps constrain how much flux can be missed in galaxy outskirts, which is important for studies of Extragalactic Background Light. Finally, I also comment on a collection of galaxies in the field with tidal tails and streams, diffuse plumes, and bridges.

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Date Created
  • 2018