Wednesday 4 February; Delft, Jonas Zmuidzinas "Discovering distant galaxy collisions using superconducting microresonators"



Time:16:00 hrs

Location: Delft, Zaal E

Jonas Zmuidzinas from California Institute of Technology will talk on "Discovering distant galaxy collisions using superconducting microresonators". 

Star formation occurs deep inside the dense cores of interstellar molecular clouds,and is hidden from the view of the optical astronomer due to scattering and absorption by interstellar dust particles. Indeed, the emitted starlight heats the dust grains, which reradiate the energy primarily in the submillimeter/far-infrared bands. This phenomenon reaches its climax when two galaxies collide and merge: their interstellar gas also collides and is shocked and compressed, triggering a giant burst of dust-enshrouded star formation on a galactic scale. Such events play a fundamental role in the cosmic history of the formation and evolution of galaxies and stars, yet are difficult to locate and study due to the technical difficulties of submillimeter astronomy. In particular, large arrays of very sensitive detectors are needed to construct the necessary wide-field cameras and spectrometers. One promising solution is to use detectors based on superconducting microresonators, which are readily multiplexed in the frequency domain. Such resonators are now also finding use in a broad range of cutting-edge physics experiments. I will describe some of the essential physics of these microresonator detectors and the development of a submillimeter multi-band camera system based on this technology. I will close by describing several large projects that will exploit these new detectors such as the proposed 25m Cornell-Caltech Atacama Telescope (CCAT).