A broadband millimeter-wave spectrometer Z-spec: sensitivity and ULIRGs

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astronomy

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Scientific paper

Z-Spec is a cryogenic, broadband, millimeter-wave grating spectrometer. It is capable of obtaining many spectral lines simultaneously because of its unprecedented broad bandwidth (185-305GHz). The bandpass covers the 1mm atmospheric transmission window with a resolving power of 250-400. Z-Spec uses 160 silicon nitride micromesh bolometers cooled down to less than 100mK for background-limited performance. The unique capability of Z-Spec to detect multiple lines simultaneously allows us to obtain information efficiently on the physical and chemical conditions of nearby Ultra-luminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs) powered by starbursts or Active Galactic Nuclei. Here we report on new millimeter-wave broadband data for ULIRGs acquired with Z-Spec and the noise performance and achieved sensitivity in observations with the CSO. We found that during the observations the noise scales with the atmospheric opacity and can be explained well by our sensitivity model, considering the photon noise originating from the sky and the telescope, as well as the detector and electronics noise. The photon noise is found to dominate the total noise.

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