The Laboratory for Millimeter-wave Astronomy
The Laboratory for Millimeter-wave Astronomy (LMA) leads the astronomy department's participation in the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) and is involved in a variety of projects including instrumentation for NASA Statospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, broadband spectrometers for the NRAO Greenbank Telescope, and development of space interferometer missions concepts and laboratory interferometry testbeds in collaboration with Goddard Space Flight Center. The LMA group include 5 professorial faculty,4 research scientists, 4 postdocs, and 6 graduate students. A broad range of science is pursued by the LMA group utilizing space and ground based astronomical facilities at optical, infrared, and radio wavelengths.
CARMA, the main focus of the LMA, is the premier millimeter-wave telescope in the world which is operated by the CARMA Association: Caltech, University of California Berkeley, University of Illinois, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Maryland. With 15 radio dishes that can be positioned in arrays with baselines up to 2 km, CARMA has the highest angular resolution and best imaging of any millimeter-wave telescope. Operating in the 3 mm and 1 mm atmospheric windows at an elevation of 2200 meters in the Inyo Mountains of California, CARMA has a maximum resolution of 0.13 arcseconds. With routine observations which began in early 2007, CARMA also serves as a pathfinder for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submilllimeter Array (ALMA), under construction at an elevation of 5000 meters on the Chajnantor plain of the Chilean Andes.
The LMA addresses a wide range of astrophysical problems, including: How do other planetary systems form and evolve? What determines the types of stars born in interstellar clouds and the rate at which they form? Just how far does pre-biotic chemistry proceed in star and planet formation? How are massive black holes and the active galactic nuclei of other galaxies fueled? How are galaxies and cluster of galaxies assembled? What is the star formation and heavy element enrichment history of the primeval universe that is hidden from optical view?
In addition, the LMA provides graduate students with a strong and open environment for learning interferometry techniques, instrumentation, and scientific software development. We have an outstanding history of placing our students in faculty and scientific staff positions, including with the ALMA.
Please click on the images link along the right side to see the research interests of individual members and more specifics about some of the projects being pursued by the LMA.