Innovative Concepts in IR/Submm Astronomy from Space

March 9-12, 2009
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

This one-week workshop was a forum to explore new concepts that enable major scientific advances at modest cost in the far-IR / submm spectral range. Far-IR astronomy is typically driven toward expensive, flagship-class missions, primarily because optimal sensitivity requires a large cold collecting area in space and novel detector approaches. This workshop looked for opportunities to make new break-through measurements without flagship-class budgets. The participants generated a list of promising concepts and ideas, and key questions for further study. Their detailed assessment is beyond the scope of the workshop but they could be pursued afterward with analysis, modeling, and engineering studies. While some ideas may prove impractical until new technology is available, others might evolve into near-term mission and instrument designs.

Sessions were organized for science motivation and wish-lists, break-out sessions for innovation areas (e.g. cooling, optics, architecture), for coordination and integration of break-outs, and for summary and distillation.

The intent was to be completely unconstrained in brainstorming, except, of course, by the laws of physics.

Workshop Participants:

  • James Aguirre - University of Pennsylvania
  • Lee Armus - Caltech
  • Dominic Benford - NASA / GSFC
  • Andrew Blain - Caltech
  • Jamie Bock - JPL
  • Matt Bradford - JPL
  • Ranga Chary - Caltech
  • Mark Devlin - University of Pennsylvania
  • Darren Dowell - JPL
  • Mark Dragovan - JPL
  • Sunil R Golwala - Caltech
  • Martin Harwit - Cornell University
  • George Helou - Caltech
  • Warren Holmes - JPL
  • Al Kogut - Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Mark Lysek - JPL
  • Harvey Moseley - NASA/GSFC
  • Eric Murphy - Caltech
  • Christopher Paine - JPL
  • Jean-Loup Puget - Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale
  • Mike Seiffert - JPL
  • Tom Soifer - Caltech
  • Jonas Zmuidzinas - Caltech

Workshop Presentations

Jonas Zmuidzinas

Plenary Session: Progress and Prospects in Direct Detectors

Examples of Innovation

Mark Devlin
University of Pennsylvania


Al Kogut


Mark Lysek

Spitzer Thermal Architecture

Science Updates

Ranga Chary

History of IR-Bright Galaxies in the last half of the Universe

New Ideas

Matt Bradford

Spectroscopy From the Ground and Space

Darren Dowell

Opportunities for Dust Polarization Studies