Amica NIR/MIR Camera For Antarctica
|Figure 1: Dome C site in Antarctica.|
OAPD participates in a Consortium of Italian Institutes in the
project. AMICA (Antarctic Multiband Infrared CAmera) is a double-armed
camera allowing observations between 2µ and 25µ, which will be mounted
at IRAIT (International Robotic Antarctic Infrared Telescope), an 80cm
robotic telescope developed to fully exploit the particular
atmospheric conditions of Dome C, Antarctica (see Fig. 1). The Dome C
site, at 3200m above sea level on the Antarctic Plateau, jointly
exploited by Italian and French teams in the framework of Concordia
project, thanks to exceptional coldness, low sky brightness and low
content of water vapour of the above atmosphere is likely to be one of
the best site on Earth for thermal infrared observations (2.3-300 µm)
as well as for the far infrared range (30 µm-1mm).
IRAIT telescope is provided with a wobbling secondary mirror to perform focusing, dithering (for near-infrared observations) and fast chopping (for mid-infrared observations), and a plane tertiary mirror to alternatively feed two Nasmyth foci. The camera is meant to perform NIR/MIR surveys (K, L, M, N and Q) of the southern sky.
|Figure 2: The AMICA detector controller with the NIR and MIR bare multiplexers under test.|
OAPd contributes to the project with the development of the near
infrared arm using the InSb detectors and the electronics here
developed in the framework of the ASI VISIR-C program.
The control electronics for the AMICA camera has been developed starting from the VISIR-C controller. The controller (see Fig. 2) has been customized in order to allow the proper operation of two completely different detectors:
The two devices have considerable different readout schemes and speed
making a non trivial challenge their practical operation from a single
A consistent effort has been spent, especially for the design of the AMICA cryostat and cryogenic design (5 K° closed cycle cryocooler) in order to allow the operation of two different detectors with different operation temperatures (InSb @ 30 K° and SiAs @ 7 K°) and in order to assure reasonable operation margins in a so hostile environment (temperatures down to -80 C° and extremely dry atmosphere).
The project is funded by INAF-Teramo Observatory and the ARENA FP7 programme.