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Optics Plate Assembly for Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST)

Description

Balloon-borne telescopes are an economic alternative to scientists seeking to study light compared to other ground- and space-based alternatives, such as the Keck Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. One such balloon-borne telescope is the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope,

Balloon-borne telescopes are an economic alternative to scientists seeking to study light compared to other ground- and space-based alternatives, such as the Keck Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. One such balloon-borne telescope is the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope, or simply BLAST. Arizona State University was tasked with assembling one of the primary optics plates for the telescope's next mission. This plate, detailed in the following paragraphs, is designed to detect and capture submillimeter wavelength light. This will help scientists understand the formation and early life of stars. Due to its highly sensitive nature detecting light, the optics plate had to be carefully assembled following a strict assembly and testing procedure. Initially, error tolerances for the mirrors and plate were developed using a computer model, later to be compared to measured values. The engineering decisions made throughout the process pertained to every aspect of the plate, from ensuring the compliance of the engineering drawings to the polishing of the mirrors for testing. The assembly procedure itself was verified at the conclusion using a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to analyze whether or not the plate was within defined error tolerances mentioned above. This data was further visualized within the document to show that the assembly procedure of the BLAST optics plate was successful. The largest error margins seen were approximately one order of magnitude lower than their tolerated limits, reflecting good engineering judgement and care applied to the manufacturing process. The plate has since been shipped offsite to continue testing and the assembly team is confident it will perform well within expected parameters.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Searching for Stellar Outflow in the R Coronae Australis Region

Description

Using data from the Arizona Radio Observatory Submillimeter Telescope, we have studied the active, star-forming region of the R Coronae Australis molecular cloud in 12CO (2-1), 13CO (2-1), and HCO+ (3-2). We baselined and mapped the data using CLASS. It

Using data from the Arizona Radio Observatory Submillimeter Telescope, we have studied the active, star-forming region of the R Coronae Australis molecular cloud in 12CO (2-1), 13CO (2-1), and HCO+ (3-2). We baselined and mapped the data using CLASS. It was then used to create integrated intensity, outflow, and centroid velocity maps in IDL. These clearly showed the main large outflow, and then we identified a few other possible outflows.

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Agent

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Date Created
2014-05

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An Automated Test System for Terahertz Receiver Characterization

Description

An automated test system was developed to characterize detectors for the Kilopixel Array Pathfinder Project (KAPPa). KAPPa is an astronomy instrument that detects light at terahertz wavelengths using a 16-pixel heterodyne focal plane array. Although primarily designed for the KAPPa

An automated test system was developed to characterize detectors for the Kilopixel Array Pathfinder Project (KAPPa). KAPPa is an astronomy instrument that detects light at terahertz wavelengths using a 16-pixel heterodyne focal plane array. Although primarily designed for the KAPPa receiver, the test system can be used with other instruments to automate tests that might be tedious and time-consuming by hand. Mechanical components of the test setup include an adjustable structure of aluminum t-slot framing that supports a rotating chopper. Driven by a stepper motor, the chopper alternates between blackbodies at room temperature and 77 K. The cold load consists of absorbing material submerged in liquid nitrogen in an open Styrofoam cooler. Scripts written in Matlab and Python control the mechanical system, interface with receiver components, and process data. To calculate the equivalent noise temperature of a receiver, the y-factor method is used. Test system operation was verified by sweeping the local oscillator frequency and power level for two room temperature Schottky diode receivers from Virginia Diodes, Inc. The test system was then integrated with the KAPPa receiver, providing a low cost, simple, adaptable means to measure noise with minimal user intervention.

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2014-05

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Photometric Color Correction of the Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS)

Description

The Star Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS) will be a 6U CubeSat devoted to photometric monitoring of M dwarfs in the far-ultraviolet (FUV) and near-ultraviolet (NUV) (160 and 280 nm respectively), measuring the time-dependent spectral slope, intensity and evolution of

The Star Planet Activity Research CubeSat (SPARCS) will be a 6U CubeSat devoted to photometric monitoring of M dwarfs in the far-ultraviolet (FUV) and near-ultraviolet (NUV) (160 and 280 nm respectively), measuring the time-dependent spectral slope, intensity and evolution of M dwarf stellar UV radiation. The delta-doped detectors baselined for SPARCS have demonstrated more than five times the in-band quantum efficiency of the detectors of GALEX. Given that red:UV photon emission from cool, low-mass stars can be million:one, UV observation of thes stars are susceptible to red light contamination. In addition to the high efficiency delta-doped detectors, SPARCS will include red-rejection filters to help minimize red leak. Even so, careful red-rejection and photometric calibration is needed. As was done for GALEX, white dwarfs are used for photometric calibration in the UV. We find that the use of white dwarfs to calibrate the observations of red stars leads to significant errors in the reported flux, due to the differences in white dwarf and red dwarf spectra. Here we discuss the planned SPARCS calibration model and the color correction, and demonstrate the importance of this correction when recording UV measurements of M stars taken by SPARCS.

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2021-05

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Tidal tales of minor mergers: star formation in the tidal tails of minor mergers

Description

This work examines star formation in the debris associated with collisions of dwarf and spiral galaxies. While the spectacular displays of major mergers are famous (e.g., NGC 4038/9, ``The Antennae''), equal mass galaxy mergers are relatively rare compared to minor

This work examines star formation in the debris associated with collisions of dwarf and spiral galaxies. While the spectacular displays of major mergers are famous (e.g., NGC 4038/9, ``The Antennae''), equal mass galaxy mergers are relatively rare compared to minor mergers (mass ratio <0.3) Minor mergers are less energetic than major mergers, but more common in the observable universe and, thus, likely played a pivotal role in the formation of most large galaxies. Centers of mergers host vigorous star formation from high gas density and turbulence and are surveyed over cosmological distances. However, the tidal debris resulting from these mergers have not been well studied. Such regions have large reservoirs of gaseous material that can be used as fuel for subsequent star formation but also have lower gas density. Tracers of star formation at the local and global scale have been examined for three tidal tails in two minor merger systems. These tracers include young star cluster populations, H-alpha, and [CII] emission. The rate of apparent star formation derived from these tracers is compared to the gas available to estimate the star formation efficiency (SFE). The Western tail of NGC 2782 formed isolated star clusters while massive star cluster complexes are found in the UGC 10214 (``The Tadpole'') and Eastern tail of NGC 2782. Due to the lack of both observable CO and [CII] emission, the observed star formation in the Western tail of NGC 2782 may have a low carbon abundance and represent only the first round of local star formation. While the Western tail has a normal SFE, the Eastern tail in the same galaxy has an low observed SFE. In contrast, the Tadpole tidal tail has a high observed star formation rate and a corresponding high SFE. The low SFE observed in the Eastern tail of NGC 2782 may be due to its origin as a splash region where localized gas heating is important. However, the other tails may be tidally formed regions where gravitational compression likely dominates and enhances the local star formation.

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Agent

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Date Created
2013

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Advancements in Kinetic Inductance Detector, Spectrometer, and Amplifier Technologies for Millimeter-Wave Astronomy

Description

The inductance of a conductor expresses its tendency to oppose a change in current flowing through it. For superconductors, in addition to the familiar magnetic inductance due to energy stored in the magnetic field generated by this current, kinetic inductance

The inductance of a conductor expresses its tendency to oppose a change in current flowing through it. For superconductors, in addition to the familiar magnetic inductance due to energy stored in the magnetic field generated by this current, kinetic inductance due to inertia of charge carriers is a significant and often dominant contribution to total inductance. Devices based on modifying the kinetic inductance of thin film superconductors have widespread application to millimeter-wave astronomy. Lithographically patterning such a film into a high quality factor resonator produces a high sensitivity photodetector known as a kinetic inductance detector (KID), which is sensitive to frequencies above the superconducting energy gap of the chosen material. Inherently multiplexable in the frequency domain and relatively simple to fabricate, KIDs pave the way to the large format focal plane array instruments necessary to conduct the next generation of cosmic microwave background (CMB), star formation, and galaxy evolution studies. In addition, non-linear kinetic inductance can be exploited to develop traveling wave kinetic inductance parametric amplifiers (TKIPs) based on superconducting delay lines to read out these instruments.

I present my contributions to both large and small scale collaborative efforts to develop KID arrays, spectrometers integrated with KIDs, and TKIPs. I optimize a dual polarization TiN KID absorber for the next generation Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry, which is designed to investigate the role magnetic fields play in star formation. As part of an effort to demonstrate aluminum KIDs on sky for CMB polarimetry, I fabricate devices for three design variants. SuperSpec and WSpec are respectively the on-chip and waveguide implementations of a filter bank spectrometer concept designed for survey spectroscopy of high redshift galaxies. I provide a robust tool for characterizing the performance of all SuperSpec devices and demonstrate basic functionality of the first WSpec prototype. As part of an effort to develop the first W-Band (75-110 GHz) TKIP, I construct a cryogenic waveguide feedthrough, which enhances the Astronomical Instrumentation Laboratory’s capability to test W-Band devices in general. These efforts contribute to the continued maturation of these kinetic inductance technologies, which will usher in a new era of millimeter-wave astronomy.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2018

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The development of unique focal planes for high-resolution suborbital and ground-based exploration

Description

The development of new Ultra-Violet/Visible/IR range (UV/Vis/IR) astronomical instrumentation that use novel approaches for imaging and increase the accessibility of observing time for more research groups is essential for rapid innovation within the community. Unique focal planes that are rapid-prototyped,

The development of new Ultra-Violet/Visible/IR range (UV/Vis/IR) astronomical instrumentation that use novel approaches for imaging and increase the accessibility of observing time for more research groups is essential for rapid innovation within the community. Unique focal planes that are rapid-prototyped, low cost, and provide high resolution are key.

In this dissertation the emergent designs of three unique focal planes are discussed. These focal planes were each designed for a different astronomical platform: suborbital balloon, suborbital rocket, and ground-based observatory. The balloon-based payload is a hexapod-actuated focal plane that uses tip-tilt motion to increase angular resolution through the removal of jitter – known as the HExapod Resolution-Enhancement SYstem (HERESY), the suborbital rocket imaging payload is a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) delta-doped charge-coupled device (CCD) packaged to survive the rigors of launch and image far-ultra-violet (FUV) spectra, and the ground-based observatory payload is a star centroid tracking modification to the balloon version of HERESY for the tip-tilt correction of atmospheric turbulence.

The design, construction, verification, and validation of each focal plane payload is discussed in detail. For HERESY’s balloon implementation, pointing error data from the Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory (STO) Antarctic balloon mission was used to form an experimental lab test setup to demonstrate the hexapod can eliminate jitter in flight-like conditions. For the suborbital rocket focal plane, a harsh set of unit-level tests to ensure the payload could survive launch and space conditions, as well as the characterization and optimization of the JPL detector, are detailed. Finally, a modification of co-mounting a fast-read detector to the HERESY focal plane, for use on ground-based observatories, intended to reduce atmospherically induced tip-tilt error through the centroid tracking of bright natural guidestars, is described.

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Date Created
2019

Companions and Environments of Low-Mass Stars: From Star-Forming Regions to the Field

Description

The lowest-mass stars, known as M-dwarfs, form target samples for upcoming exoplanet searches, and together with lower-mass substellar objects known as brown dwarfs, are among prime targets for detailed study with high-contrast adaptive optics (AO) imaging and sub-millimeter interferometry. In

The lowest-mass stars, known as M-dwarfs, form target samples for upcoming exoplanet searches, and together with lower-mass substellar objects known as brown dwarfs, are among prime targets for detailed study with high-contrast adaptive optics (AO) imaging and sub-millimeter interferometry. In this thesis, I describe results from three studies investigating the companion properties and environments of low-mass systems: (1) The 245-star M-dwarfs in Multiples (MinMs) Survey, a volume-limited survey of field M-dwarf companions within 15 pc, (2) the Taurus Boundary of Stellar/Substellar (TBOSS) Survey, an ongoing study of disk properties for low-mass members within the Taurus star-forming region, and (3) spectroscopy of a brown dwarf companion using the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI).

Direct imaging of M-dwarfs is a sensitive technique to identify low-mass companions over a wide range of orbital separation, and the high proper motion of nearby M-dwarfs eases confirmation of new multiple stars. Combining AO and wide-field imaging, the MinMs Survey provides new measurements of the companion star fraction (CSF), separation distribution, and mass ratio distribution for the nearest K7-M6 dwarfs. These results demonstrate the closer orbital separations (~6 AU) and lower frequency (~23% CSF) of M-dwarf binaries relative to higher-mass stars.

From the TBOSS project, I report 885µm Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array continuum measurements for 24 Taurus members spanning the stellar/substellar boundary (M4-M7.75). Observations of submillimeter emission from dust grains around the lowest-mass hosts show decreasing disk dust mass for decreasing host star mass, consistent with low frequencies of giant planets around M-dwarfs. Compared to the older stellar association of Upper Scorpius, Taurus disks have a factor of four higher mass in submillimeter-sized grains.

From the GPI Exoplanet Survey, I describe near-infrared spectroscopy of an unusually red companion orbiting inside the debris disk of an F5V star. As the second brown dwarf discovered within the innermost region of a debris disk, the properties of this system offer important dynamical constraints for companion-disk interaction and a useful benchmark for brown dwarf and giant planet atmospheric study.

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Date Created
2017