Simons Observatory Focal-Plane Module: In-lab Testing and Characterization Program

Yuhan Wang, Kaiwen Zheng, Zachary Atkins, Jason Austermann, Tanay Bhandarkar, Steve K. Choi, Shannon M. Duff, Daniel Dutcher, Nicholas Galitzki, Erin Healy, Zachary B. Huber, Johannes Hubmayr, Bradley R. Johnson, Jack Lashner, Yaqiong Li, Heather McCarrick, Michael D. Niemack, Joseph Seibert, Maximiliano Silva-Feaver, Rita SonkaSuzanne T. Staggs, Eve Vavagiakis, Zhilei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Simons Observatory is a ground-based cosmic microwave background instrument to be sited in the Atacama Desert in Chile. SO will deploy 60,000 transition-edge sensors (TES) bolometers in 49 separate focal-plane modules across a suite of four telescopes covering three dichroic bands termed low frequency (LF), mid-frequency and ultra-high frequency. Each MF and UHF focal-plane module packages 1720 feedhorn-coupled detectors with cryogenic components for highly multiplexed readout using microwave SQUID multiplexing. In this paper, we describe the testing program we have developed for high-throughput validation of modules after they are assembled. The validation requires measurements of the yield, saturation powers, time constants, noise properties and optical efficiencies. Additional measurements will be performed for further characterization as needed. We describe the methods developed and demonstrate preliminary results from the initial testing of a prototype module.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-952
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Cosmic microwave background
  • Microwave SQUID multiplexing
  • TES bolometers


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