The SOFIA/SAFIRE Far-Infrared Spectrometer: Highlighting Submillimeter Astrophysics and TechnologyThe Submillimeter and Far-InfraRed Experiment (SAFIRE) on the SOFIA airborne observatory is an imaging spectrometer for wavelengths between 28 microns and 440 microns. Our design is a dual-band long-slit grating spectrometer, which provides broadband (approx. 4000 km/s) observations in two lines simultaneously over a field of view roughly 10" wide by 320" long. The low backgrounds in spectroscopy require very sensitive detectors with noise equivalent powers of order 10(exp -18) W/square root of Hz. We are developing a kilopixel, filled detector array for SAFIRE in a 32 x 40 format. The detector consists of a transition edge sensor (TES) bolometer array, a per-pixel broadband absorbing backshort array, and a NIST SQUID multiplexer readout array. This general type of array has been used successfully in the GISMO instrument, so we extrapolate to the sensitivity needed for airborne spectroscopy. Much of the cryogenic, electronics, and software infrastructure for SAFIRE have been developed. I provide here an overview of the progress on SAFIRE.
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Benford, Dominic J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)