The Simons Observatory: Instrument overview

Nicholas Galitzki, Aamir Ali, Kam S. Arnold, Peter C. Ashton, Jason E. Austermann, Carlo Baccigalupi, Taylor Baildon, Darcy Barron, James A. Beall, Shawn Beckman, Sarah Marie M. Bruno, Sean Bryan, Paolo G. Calisse, Grace E. Chesmore, Yuji Chinone, Steve K. Choi, Gabriele Coppi, Kevin D. Crowley, Kevin T. Crowley, Ari CukiermanMark J. Devlin, Simon Dicker, Bradley Dober, Shannon M. Duff, Jo Dunkley, Giulio Fabbian, Patricio A. Gallardo, Martina Gerbino, Neil Goeckner-Wald, Joseph E. Golec, Jon E. Gudmundsson, Erin E. Healy, Shawn Henderson, Charles A. Hill, Gene C. Hilton, Shuay Pwu Patty Ho, Logan A. Howe, Johannes Hubmayr, Oliver Jeong, Brian Keating, Brian J. Koopman, Kenji Kiuchi, Akito Kusaka, Jacob Lashner, Adrian T. Lee, Yaqiong Li, Michele Limon, Marius Lungu, Frederick Matsuda, Philip D. Mauskopf, Andrew J. May, Nialh McCallum, Jeff McMahon, Federico Nati, Michael D. Niemack, John L. Orlowski-Scherer, Stephen C. Parshley, Lucio Piccirillo, Mayuri Sathyanarayana Rao, Christopher Raum, Maria Salatino, Joseph S. Seibert, Carlos Sierra, Max Silva-Feaver, Sara M. Simon, Suzanne T. Staggs, Jason R. Stevens, Aritoki Suzuki, Grant Teply, Robert Thornton, Calvin Tsai, Joel N. Ullom, Eve M. Vavagiakis, Michael R. Vissers, Benjamin Westbrook, Edward J. Wollack, Zhilei Xu, Ningfeng Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

68 Scopus citations


The Simons Observatory (SO) will make precision temperature and polarization measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) using a series of telescopes which will cover angular scales between 1 arcminute and tens of degrees, contain over 40,000 detectors, and sample frequencies between 27 and 270 GHz. SO will consist of a six-meter-aperture telescope coupled to over 20,000 detectors along with an array of half-meter aperture refractive cameras, coupled to an additional 20,000+ detectors. The unique combination of large and small apertures in a single CMB observatory, which will be located in the Atacama Desert at an altitude of 5190 m, will allow us to sample a wide range of angular scales over a common survey area. SO will measure fundamental cosmological parameters of our universe, find high redshift clusters via the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect, constrain properties of neutrinos, and seek signatures of dark matter through gravitational lensing. The complex set of technical and science requirements for this experiment has led to innovative instrumentation solutions which we will discuss. The large aperture telescope will couple to a cryogenic receiver that is 2.4 m in diameter and over 2 m long, creating a number of interesting technical challenges. Concurrently, we are designing an array of half-meter-aperture cryogenic cameras which also have compelling design challenges. We will give an overview of the drivers for and designs of the SO telescopes and the cryogenic cameras that will house the cold optical components and detector arrays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX
EditorsJonas Zmuidzinas, Jian-Rong Gao
ISBN (Print)9781510619692
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2018Jun 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy IX 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • CMB
  • Simons Observatory
  • bolometric camera
  • cryogenics
  • half-wave plate
  • microwave multiplexing readout
  • millimeter wavelengths
  • transition-edge sensor


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