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SCUBA-2: The next generation wide-field imager for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

By W. S. Holland, W. D. Duncan, B. D. Kelly, T. Peacocke, E. I. Robson, K. D. Irwin, G. Hilton, S. Rinehart, Peter A. R. Ade and M. J. Griffin


We describe SCUBA-2 - the next generation continuum imaging camera for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. The instrument will capitalise on the success of the current SCUBA camera, by having a much larger field-of- view and improved sensitivity. SCUBA-2 will be able to map the submillimetre sky several hundred times faster than SCUBA to the same noise level. Many areas of astronomy are expected to benefit - from large scale cosmological surveys to probe galaxy formation and evolution to studies of the earliest stages of star formation in our own Galaxy. Perhaps the most exciting prospect that SCUBA-2 will offer is in the statistical significance of wide-field surveys. The key science requirements of the new camera are the ability to make very deep images - reaching background confusion levels in only a couple of hours; to generate high fidelity images at two wavelengths simultaneously; to map large areas of sky (tens of degrees) to a reasonable depth in only a few hours; carry out photometry of known-position point-sources to a high accuracy. The technical design of SCUBA-2 will incorporate new technology transition-edge sensors as the detecting element, with signals being read out using multiplexed SQUID amplifiers. As in SCUBA there will be two arrays operating at 450 and 850 microns simultaneously. Fully-sampling a field-of-voew of 8 arcminutes square will require 25,600 and 6,400 pixels at 450 and 850 microns respectively (cf 91 and 37 pixels with SCUBA!). Each pixel will have diffraction-limited resolution on the sky and a sensitivity dominated by the background photon noise. SCUBA-2 is a collaboration between a number of institutions. We anticipate delivery of the final instrument to the telescope before the end of 2005

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