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Imaging Cosmic Dawn: 

Imaging Cosmic Dawn The Atacama Large Millimeter Array Alwyn Wootten National Radio Astronomy Observatory Charlottesville, Virginia NRAO is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.


The Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or ALMA, is an array of precision engineered antennas each 12 meters in diameter which will work together to make detailed images of astronomical objects. The scope of the ALMA Project is an array of 64 antennas that can be positioned as needed over an area up to 14 kilometers in diameter so as to give the array a zoom-lens capability, with resolution reaching 10 milliarcseconds. The faintest millimeter/submillimeter source yet detected shines at about 1 mJy; ALMA will reach this sensitivity in seconds. ALMA's great sensitivity and resolution make it ideal for medium scale deep investigations of the structure of the submillimeter sky. ALMA has been endorsed as the highest priority project for the next decade by the astronomical communities of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Japan (the latter as LMSA). Al Wootten, ALMA/US Project Scientist ECC Atacama Large Millimeter Array A project of the National Science Foundation through Associated Universities, Inc. and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Caltech, Berkeley, Illinois and Maryland in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada, and the European Southern Observatory and its partners The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France; Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG), Germany; The Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, (NFRA); Nederlandse Onderzoekschool Voor Astronomie, (NOVA); The United Kingdom Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, (PPARC);The Swedish Natural Science Research Council, (NFR); and the Ministry de Ciencia y Tecnologia and Instituto Geografico Nacional (IGN,)(Spain). The Science Ministry of Japan (MEXT) through the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan participates in an affiliated role. CONICYT Chile participates through holding the concession on the land and its seat on the ALMA Board

The Millimeter Spectrum: 

The Millimeter Spectrum Millimeter/submillimeter photons are the most abundant photons in the spectrum of the Milky Way and most spiral galaxies, and in the cosmic background. After the 3K cosmic background radiation, millimeter/submillimeter photons carry most of the energy in the Universe, and 40% of that in for instance the Milky Way Galaxy. ALMA range--wavelengths from 1cm to 0.3 mm.

Contributors to the Millimeter Spectrum: 

Contributors to the Millimeter Spectrum In addition to dominating the spectrum of the distant Universe, millimeter/submillimeter spectral components dominate the spectrum of planets, young stars, many distant galaxies. Most of the observed transitions of the 122 known interstellar molecules lie in the mm/submm spectral region However, molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere inhibit our study of many of these molecules. Furthermore, the long wavelength requires large aperture for high resolution, unachievable from space.

Complete Frequency Access: 

Complete Frequency Access

Where can such transparent skies be found??: 

Where can such transparent skies be found?? Living Earth ALMA South America

Northern Chile: 

Northern Chile Site must be high to make the best use of the atmospheric windows. Site should also be accessible, supported by reasonably close support facilities. Site should be dry for transparency. Chajnantor lies relatively close to the ancient town of San Pedro de Atacama, inhabited for more than two millennia. San Pedro is relatively near the Calama airport, and not far from the ESO site at Paranal. Chajnantor lies astride the paved Pasa de Jama road to Argentina.

Salar de Atacama: 

Salar de Atacama 0.55, 0.8, 1.6 mm Landsat 7, 2000 February 12 Cerro Chajnantor ALMA San Pedro de Atacama Salar de Atacama NASA/GSFC

San Pedro de Atacama: 

San Pedro de Atacama Hostaria San Pedro Casa de Don Tómas


Chajnantor SW from Cerro Chajnantor, 1994 May AUI/NRAO S. Radford

Chajnantor Evaluation: 

Chajnantor Evaluation Clarity of atmosphere: superior to Mauna Kea; at best better than South Pole Source accessibility: superior to South Pole Site monitoring continues Comparison with first years of Caltech CBI operations Eruption of Lascar caused no discernable problems Evaluation Transparency monitoring extended to supraTHz windows Radiosonde campaign extended to cover all seasons Installation and upgrade of monitoring equipment, communications Array center site chosen


100-meter Green Bank Telescope GBT Dedicated in 2000


The Very Large Array - VLA Dedicated in 1980

ALMA at Chajnantor: 

ALMA at Chajnantor ESO

ALMA Specifications: 

ALMA Specifications Antennae 64 ´ 12 m collecting area > 7000 m2 Configurations 150 m – 14 km resolution (300 GHz) 1.4 – 0.015" Frequency 30 – 950 GHz wavelength 10 – 0.3 mm Receiver sensitivity close to quantum limit Correlator 16 GHz / 4096 chan. Site excellent Result: A leap of over two orders of magnitude in both spatial resolution and sensitivity

ALMA Technologies Enable the Sensitivity Leap: 

ALMA Technologies Enable the Sensitivity Leap Antenna -- Mechanical Engineering, Materials Correlator -- Special purpose IC for high speed signal processing Computing -- Non-linear imaging algorithms Detectors -- Improving the best in the world Remote Access -- Bringing the telescope from the 16500 Chajnantor site into the observer’s control Photonics -- Light waves to radio waves

The ALMA Antenna Mechanical Engineering at the Heart of the Array: 

The ALMA Antenna Mechanical Engineering at the Heart of the Array Must maintain accuracy at 16,500 foot Llano de Chajnantor Surface accuracy better than 20 microns Pointing accuracy better than 0.6 arcseconds Despite high winds (50 percentile 6.5 m/s) no vegetation - windblown grit and dust annual median temperature -2.5 C (range -20 to +20 C) pressure 55% of sea level--UV radiation (170% of sea level) Three designs ALMA/NA Vertex, of Santa Clara, CA much carbon fiber of a novel sort ALMA/EU Alcatel Space, EIE, of Venice and Castamasagna , Italy considerable carbon fiber ALMA/JP refinement of ASTE pre-prototype soon to be open bid Final design after 1.5yrs of tests in New Mexico (Jan 2004)


Vertex Antenna Concept The ALMA prototype antenna makes extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) technology in order for the antenna to maintain a stable parabolic shape in the harsh thermal and wind environment characteristic of the ALMA site at 16,500 feet elevation in the Andes mountains of northern Chile.


Installation at the Very Large Array in New Mexico, USA Construction of the Vertex antenna’s concrete pad is nearly complete; antenna acceptance scheduled for 29 July 2002. Three prototypes to be tested side-by-side for selection of a final design in 2004.

The ALMA Correlator High Speed Signal Processing: 

The ALMA Correlator High Speed Signal Processing Analog input at 64 x 8 x 2GHz per second digitized and transmitted at 96 Gigabits per second from each antenna Fiber optic transmission to digital filters, then to correlator Correlator: Achieving 1.7 x 1016 multiply and add operations per second! cross-correlates signals from 32*63=2016 pairs of antennas on 16 msec timescales; autocorrelates signals from 64 antennas on 1 msec timescales, 32 Gbyte/s output Design offers flexibility of selection of Bandwidth Spectral window placement Power requirement 150 kW. Under construction NRAO-CDL Charlottesville for delivery to Chajnantor

Detectors Many Laboratories Worldwide: 

Detectors Many Laboratories Worldwide Radio receivers amplify weak signals, usually after mixing with a locally generated signal (LO) Receivers will cover the entire observable submillimeter spectrum observable from Earth’s best site Superconducting tunnel junction receivers (4K) mix and HEMT amplifiers at e.g. 4-12 GHz amplify for frequencies above ~90 GHz Four, eventually ten on each of 64 antennas--the most extensive superconducting electronic receiving system in astronomy


Receiver Research Involves 20 Institutions in 10 Countries NRAO (Charlottesville, Tucson, Socorro USA) HIA (Canada) OVRO (Caltech) U. Cal. Berkeley U. Illinois U. Maryland ESO OSO (Sweden) RAL, MRAO (UK) NOVA/SRON (Netherlands) MPIfR (Germany) IRAM (Germany, France, Spain) DEMIRM (France) Arectri (Italy) North America Europe Japan NAOJ NRO U. of Tokyo U. of Osaka

Front End Specifications: 

Front End Specifications Frequencies from 31 to 950 GHz covered in 10 bands requires RF bandwidth up to 30% All bands dual polarization 8 bands use SIS mixers at 4K Mixers separate sidebands where possible, and balanced Highest possible sensitivity and stability receiver noise close to quantum limit wide detection bandwidth (IF 4-12 GHz) Highest reliability (1280 systems) Modular design

Front End Concept: 

Front End Concept Ten bands, one 1 m diameter dewar (June ’02) with 70K, 15K and 4K stages Each band a modular ‘cartridge’ held by flexible thermal links All bands share focal plane, cartridges plug in from bottom, optics atop

Preliminary Cartridge Design: 

Preliminary Cartridge Design Optics Two mixers IF amplifiers Local oscillator Cables Mount High Frequency Optics Concept

Remote Access: 

Remote Access Astronomers anywhere can interact with the system, and receive interim images in real time Requires high speed communication


Photonics LO - IR lasers beat together produce reference frequency for mixing, distributed to all antennas over fiber optics Key technology is high frequency (>100 GHz) photodiodes--developed by NTT Japan to >300 GHz, HHT tests at 650 GHz After mixing and amplification, signal is digitized and transmitted over fiber optics to correlator Current problem: noise

ALMA Median Sensitivity (1 minute; AM=1.3; 75%Quartile opacities l>1mm, 25% l <1mm): 

ALMA Median Sensitivity (1 minute; AM=1.3; 75%Quartile opacities l>1mm, 25% l <1mm) * First light band

Brightness Temperature Sensitivity 1 min, AM 1.3, 1.5mm, *0.35 PWV, 1 km/s : 

Brightness Temperature Sensitivity 1 min, AM 1.3, 1.5mm, *0.35 PWV, 1 km/s

Science with ALMA: 

Science with ALMA Formation of Galaxies and Clusters Formation of Stars Formation of Planets Creation of the Elements Old stellar atmospheres Supernova ejecta Low temperature thermal science Planetary composition and weather Structure of Interstellar gas and dust Astrochemistry and the origins of life An 850 micron SCUBA image of the core of the cluster A1835 (contours) superimposed on a multi-colour Hale telescope image of the field [Ivison et al. 2000]. Despite the coarser resolution of the SCUBA image, it is clear that the red cluster member galaxies are not typically submillimeter sources, while the counterparts to the labeled submillimeter sources are faint optical objects. The two views of this field hence provide complementary information. ALMA will provide submillimeter images with finer resolution than the optical image.


Cosmology Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Imaging Independent estimate of H0 to beyond z = 1 Estimate of mean gas fraction on cluster scales Greater sensitivity and field of view than VLA Southern hemisphere

Formation of Galaxies: 

Formation of Galaxies Energy distribution of dusty star-forming galaxies peaks in far-infrared, near 200mm. This is also the peak of the energy distribution in the post-reionization Universe; most of the photons and most of the energy in the Universe lie within the ALMA bands Expansion of the Universe redshifts radiation from distant galaxies into ALMA bands The greater brightness of galaxies at shorter wavelength compensates for the dimming due to greater distance ALMA’s sensitive 850 micron band is optimal for detection of continuum radiation from dust by galaxies at z = 2–4 The kinematics of galaxies at this epoch can be probed with their gas content; the most abundant detectable gas will be CO. The star-forming epoch of galaxies peaked during this epoch. ALMA is an ideal instrument for study of the star forming history of the Universe and the creation of galaxies.


As galaxies get redshifted into the ALMA bands, dimming due to distance is offset by the brighter part of the spectrum being redshifted in. Hence, galaxies remain at relatively similar brightness out to high distances. M82 from ISO, Beelen and Cox, in preparation

Hubble Deep Field: 

Hubble Deep Field Optical and radio, submm VLA/JCMT Owing to the redshifts, galaxies which are redshifted into ALMA’s view vanish from view optically. ALMA shows us the distant Universe preferentially.


Some of the highest redshift objects known today are very luminous sources at millimeter wavelengths About a dozen objects have been observed in one or more lines of CO The detection in BR1202-0725 (z=4.7) at a look-back time of 92% of the age of the Universe suggests early enrichment of the interstellar medium with CNO. Even in the nearby Antennae, the strongest infrared emitting region, and that of most active star formation, is obscured in optical/near infrared light. Current Observations Wilson et al. 2000

Complementarity to OIR Observations at Similar Resolution: 

Complementarity to OIR Observations at Similar Resolution Multicolor optical image of galaxy cluster Abell 1835--Hale Telescope image shows bright cD elliptical well Submillimeter 850 micron SCUBA image shows spirals strongly which are very weak in the optical image, while the elliptical is weak ALMA’s spatial resolution will improve on SCUBA by orders of magnitude accompanied by a similar increase in sensitivity--what SCUBA achieves in tens of hours ALMA achieves in tens of minutes. OVRO has measured the CO in SMM14011+0253, in the background and lensed, aiding detectability, at z=2.6 Ivison et al. 2000 Frayer et al. 1998, 1999

ALMA and High Redshift Galaxies: 

ALMA and High Redshift Galaxies Current estimates suggest a background of about 10000 galaxies per square degree brighter than 1 mJy at submm wavelengths (850 mm). For a luminosity function based on IRAS counts of nearby galaxies (Saunders et al.), this suggests the distant Universe has about 1000 times more submm-bright galaxies as the local Universe, implying a general evolution. Predictions using a Gaussian evolution model (Blain et al. 1998) suggest ALMA will see a density of distant galaxies equal to the density of relatively nearby galaxies found in the Hubble Deep Field Because ALMA is intrinsically a spectroscopic instrument, it will serendipitously measure CO lines, hence allowing redshift determinations, for about 25% of the distant population.

An ALMA Redshift Survey in a 4’×4’ Field: 

An ALMA Redshift Survey in a 4’×4’ Field Step 1 A continuum and line survey at 300 GHz, down to 0.1 mJy (5 sigma). This requires 140 pointings, each with 30 minutes of observation, for a total of 3 days. Such a survey should find about 100-300 sources, of which 30-100 sources will be brighter than 0.4 mJy. This field is twice the size of the HDF. Step 2 A continuum and line survey in the 3 mm band down to a sensitivity of 7.5 mJy (at 5 sigma). This requires 16 pointings, each with 12 hours of observation, so a total of 8 days. The survey is done with 4 tunings covering the 84-116 GHz frequency range. The 300 to 100 GHz flux density ratio gives the photometric redshift distribution for redshifts z > 3-4. For expected line widths of 300 km/s, the line sensitivity of this survey is 0.02 Jy.km/s at 5 s. Using the typical SED presented earlier this should detect CO lines in all sources detected in Step 1. At least one CO line would be detected for all sources above z = 2, and two for all sources above z = 6. The only ``blind'' redshift regions are 0.4-1.0 and 1.7-2.0. Step 3 A continuum and line survey in the 210-274 GHz band down to a sensitivity of 50 mJy (at 5 sigma). 8 adjacent frequency tunings would be required. On average, 90 pointings would be required, each with 1.5 hours, giving a total of 6 days. Together with Step 2, this would allow detection of at least one CO line for all redshifts, and two lines for redshifts greater than 2.

Lensing: A Cluster at z=0.2: 

Lensing: A Cluster at z=0.2 Simulated ALMA image at a frequency of 350 GHz at a relatively low resolution of 3 arcsec (below right). Also shown: a simulation of the same field in the optical R-band (top right). The images are 100” square. Red: galaxies that are members of the cluster and the diffuse emission from the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect. Blue: represents background galaxies magnified by the cluster. The submillimeter image is much more sensitive to the high-redshift background galaxies. A survey of the whole field with ALMA (about 30 ALMA pointings) would reveal the brightest sources, while the faintest sources (with fluxes of 0.01 mJy) in the 350-GHz image could be detected in about 70 hours per field. Optical R-band image ALMA at 350 GHz; Blain simulation

Gas in Normal Galaxies: 

Gas in Normal Galaxies CO (1–0) image of M51 from BIMA SONG (z = 0.0015) simulated ALMA CO (3–2) image of M51 at z = 0.1 at 1" resolution velocity field of simulated image CO will be mapped, providing kinematics, in normal galaxies out to appreciable redshifts CO will be detected in nuclear regions at nearly any redshift M51 CO(1-0) BIMA ALMA CO(3-2) @ z = 0.1 ALMA kinematics BIMASONG Image

Formation of Stars: 

Formation of Stars Paradigm: material falls through a rotating circumstellar disk onto a forming star from more extensive envelope, fuelling a bipolar flow which allows loss of angular momentum Without sufficient resolution, separation of these motions is difficult Andre et al.

Formation of Stars: 

Formation of Stars A key observation, currently achievable in bright sources only, would be to observe the infalling gas in absorption against the background protostar ALMA will provide adequate sensitivity In the disk envelope, both the disk atmosphere and remnant disk core molecules can be imaged. In the bipolar flow, shock waves process envelope molecules, providing a rich chemistry ALMA will be able to observe the progress of these shocks in real time and study how their composition changes IRAS16293

Proper Motion and Structure of Shocks in Dense Clouds: 

Proper Motion and Structure of Shocks in Dense Clouds Water masers observed over four epochs encompassing 50 days. Several of the masers define an arc structure about 5AU in length. This consistently moved at a rate of 0.023 mas/day, or 13.6 km/s. Including the radial velocity offset, a space velocity of 13.7 km/s is calculated at an inclination of 6 degrees from the plane of the sky. These structures apparently represent water emission from interstellar shocks driven by the outflow from SVS13. Masers near SVS13; 1mas=0.34AU Blue Epoch I, Green Epoch III, Blue Epoch IV Wootten, Marvel, Claussen and Wilking

Protoplanetary Disks : 

Protoplanetary Disks ALMA will be able to trace the chemical evolution of star-forming regions over an unprecedented scale from cloud cores to the inner circumstellar disk. At spatial resolution of 5 AU, it will determine the nature of dust-gas interactions the extent of the resulting molecular complexity, and the major reservoirs of the biogenic elements. Angular resolution will exceed that of the HST

Protoplanet Formation: 

Protoplanet Formation Disks are observed about young stars, but with poor resolution ALMA will provide the resolution and the sensitivity to detect condensations, the cores of future giant planets As the planets grow, they clear gaps and inner holes in the disks On the right are models of this process, and on the left simulations of ALMA’s view showing that condensations, gaps and holes are readily distinguished Simulation and Model courtesy Lee Mundy, U. Md.

Indirect Detection of Planets: 

Indirect Detection of Planets A planet orbiting its central star causes the star to undergo reflexive motion about the barycenter ALMA would measure this motion accurately in its long configuration at submm wavelengths. ALMA could detect photospheres of e.g. 1000 stars well enough to detect a 5Jovian mass planet at 5AU Inclination ambiguities for companions now known could be resolved.

Elemental Enrichment of the ISM: 

Elemental Enrichment of the ISM Evolved stars and supernovae eject newly created elements into the interstellar medium where they are incorporated into molecules as gas cools Rotational lines of molecular isotopomers are well-separated in frequency in the millimeter and submillimeter regimes, allowing detailed study of the isotopic distribution of the elements near the site of their creation. ALMA will study for the first time dust formation at distances of a few stellar radii around evolved stars and observe the levitation of material from the stellar surface. Together with measurements of abundance profiles of molecules as functions of distance from the star, it will be possible to directly observe the precipitous drop in the abundances of refractory molecules when they condense into dust grains. Resolved images of stellar ejecta will determine the past history of mass loss, as in TT Cyg. TT Cyg Xray view of Crab Pulsar

ALMA Schedule: 

ALMA Schedule 1998 – 2001 Design and Development 1999 International partnership established 2002 Construction begins first year for NA partner, ESO follows, then NA remainder Prototype antennae--an end product of design and development 2000 February contracts awarded (US, Europe (latter rev. 12/2001)) 2002 1Q delivery to VLA site of Vertex Antenna 2003 1Q delivery of EIE, Japanese prototype antennas 2004 Prototype interferometer; Japanese entry? 2002 – 2011 Construction Production antennae 2004 contract award 2005 4Q initial delivery to Chajnantor 4Q 2006 Initial Commissioning Operations 4 Q 2007 Early Science Operations 4Q 2011 Completion of construction phase

ALMA on the WWW: 

ALMA on the WWW Instrument description Project book Memo series Workshop reports Newsletter Meeting minutes Links to partners http://www.alma.nrao.edu Science Case: http://iram.fr/guillote (construction proposal to ESO) and PASP Conference Series Vol. No. 235, a conference held at the Carnegie Institution

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