NIKA 2 - A revolutionary imaging instrument for millimeter waves sees first light

February 5, 2016

NIKA 2, the second generation Neel-IRAM-KID-Array, is a dual band camera operating simultaneously at 150 and 260 GHz. The instrument is based on large arrays of superconducting Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KID) operated at temperatures of 100 mK. NIKA 2 is built by an international consortium, led by the Institute Neel (Grenoble France).

Successful installation took place in early October 2015 at the IRAM 30m telescope on Pico Veleta (Sierra Nevada, Spain). To prepare for this installation, the optics of the receiver cabin had been modified during the spring 2015.

30m telescope, credit : IRAM


NIKA2 Cryostat mounted in the IRAM 30m telescope receiver cabin, credit : IRAM













 NIKA 2's field of view has a 6.5 arcmin diameter, with angular resolutions of 12 and 18 arcsec at 1 and 2 mm wavelengths respectively.

NIKA 2 is designed as a facility instrument which will remain at its present position for at least a decade. NIKA2 will observe a vast range of science topics including e.g. the study of thermal dust emission and its polarisation in Galactic star forming regions and the study of dust-obscured optically-faint galaxies during their major episodes of formation in the early universe.

The instrument consortium will carry out five dedicated large guaranteed time programs, three of which will be announced in the upcoming months.

Only two weeks after installation, first testing and characterization of NIKA 2 took place and showed that 80% of the KIDs were working nominally with sensitivities in line with the specifications and lab measurements. The preliminary set of readout electronics allowed up to 60% of the 3300 installed KIDs to be read simultaneously. Further upgrades and in-depth characterization of the instrument will take place in the coming year.

Opening to all IRAM users is expected to take place during the winter semester 2016/17.

Below is a first light image obtained on DR21OH, a well-known star forming region inside the Cygnus X molecular cloud complex. Maps are 13 arcmin large, the angular resolution in each band is represented as a white disk at the bottom of the images.

 NIKA2 first light: DR21OH observed at 1 and 2 mm, credit : NIKA2 Consortium



Read also the CNRS-INSU Press Release (in French), dated February 05, 2016.



More information:

The NIKA2 consortium involves scientists, engineers and technicians from Institute Neel, IPAG, LPSC, IRAM, IAS, CEA, IRAP, IEF, IAP, Paris Observatory, LAM, UCL, Cardiff University and ESO.

The NIKA 2 consortium acknowledges support from ANR NIKA, ANR NIKA2Sky, ERC ORISTARS, FOCUS ENIGMASS, INP, INSIS, INSU, IN2P3, UGA.