SWCam: The short wavelength camera for the CCAT Observatory

Gordon J. Stacey, Stephen Parshley, Thomas Nikola, German Cortes-Medellin, Justin Schoenwald, Ganesh Rajagopalan, Michael D. Niemack, Tim Jenness, Patricio Gallardo, Brian Koopman, Charles D. Dowell, Peter K. Day, Matthew I. Hollister, Attila Kovacs, Henry G. Leduc, Christopher M. McKenney, Ryan M. Monroe, Hiroshige Yoshida, Jonas Zmuidzinas, Loren J. SwensonSimon J. Radford, Hien Trong Nguyen, Anthony K. Mroczkowski, Jason Glenn, Jordan Wheeler, Philip Maloney, Spencer Brugger, Joseph D. Adams, Frank Bertoldi, Reinhold Schaaf, Mark Halpern, Douglas Scott, Galen Marsden, Jack Sayers, Scott Chapman, Joaquin D. Vieira

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


We describe the Short Wavelength Camera (SWCam) for the CCAT observatory including the primary science drivers, the coupling of the science drivers to the instrument requirements, the resulting implementation of the design, and its performance expectations at first light. CCAT is a 25 m submillimeter telescope planned to operate at 5600 meters, near the summit of Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. CCAT is designed to give a total wave front error of 12.5 Î1/4m rms, so that combined with its high and exceptionally dry site, the facility will provide unsurpassed point source sensitivity deep into the short submillimeter bands to wavelengths as short as the 200 Î1/4m telluric window. The SWCam system consists of 7 sub-cameras that address 4 different telluric windows: 4 subcameras at 350 Î1/4m, 1 at 450 Î1/4m, 1 at 850 Î1/4m, and 1 at 2 mm wavelength. Each sub-camera has a 60% diameter field of view, so that the total instantaneous field of view for SWCam is equivalent to a 16 diameter circle. Each focal plane is populated with near unit filling factor arrays of Lumped Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors (LEKIDs) with pixels scaled to subtend an solid angle of (Î"/D)2 on the sky. The total pixel count is 57,160. We expect background limited performance at each wavelength, and to be able to map < 35(°)2 of sky to 5 Ï on the confusion noise at each wavelength per year with this first light instrument. Our primary science goal is to resolve the Cosmic Far-IR Background (CIRB) in our four colors so that we may explore the star and galaxy formation history of the Universe extending to within 500 million years of the Big Bang. CCAT's large and high-accuracy aperture, its fast slewing speed, use of instruments with large format arrays, and being located at a superb site enables mapping speeds of up to three orders of magnitude larger than contemporary or near future facilities and makes it uniquely sensitive, especially in the short submm bands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VII
EditorsJonas Zmuidzinas, Wayne S. Holland
ISBN (Electronic)9780819496218
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VII - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jun 24 2014Jun 27 2014

Publication series

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


OtherMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VII


  • CCAT telescope
  • LEKID detectors
  • high redshift universe
  • submillimeter cameras
  • submillimeter galaxies

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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