Piercarlo Bonifacio - SPIAKID: a spectro-imager for the study of Ultra Faint Dwarf galaxies in the Local Group

SPIAKID: a spectro-imager for the study of Ultra Faint Dwarf galaxies in the Local Group
by Piercarlo Bonifacio (Observatoire de Paris-Meudon)
Abstract: The class of Ultra Faint Dwarf galaxies in the Local Group has been increasing in numbers in the last twenty years. Their nature is still subject to considerable debate: some could be living fossils that witnessed the very first star formation in the Universe, some could be formed by tidal interaction of the Milky Way with other galaxies. To get insight into the nature of these objects we need to characterise their populations, ages and metallicities, by studying their un-evolved stars down to a magnitude of 23-24. This is extremely challenging with existing instrumentation. For this reason we conceived SPIAKID, a spectro-imager based on Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs). We are developing and manufacturing these supraconducting detectors at Observatoire de Paris. These  have several advantages over CCDs and CMOS detectors: they can be operated in photon-counting mode with no read-out noise; they can provide energy information on the arriving photons without any need of filters, prisms, or gratings; all pixels are read simultaneously with a very short read-out time (10 - 100 microseconds), which may allow to achieve high angular resolution through sophisticated image reconstruction techniques; finally they can cover a wide spectral range from optical to infra-red wavelengths in a single exposure. SPIAKID is funded by the European Research Council through an Advanced Grant and shall be deployed at ESO-NTT by 2026.
Contact: F. Fiore, G. Cescutti, P. Molaro

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