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Advanced optical calibration of the Herschel HIFI heterodyne spectrometer

Higgins, Daniel Ronan (2011) Advanced optical calibration of the Herschel HIFI heterodyne spectrometer. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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The Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI) was launched aboard the Herschel Space Observatory on the 14th of May 2009. HIFI's frequency range is spread over 7 mixer bands. Bands 1-5 (480-1270 GHz) use Superconducting-Insulator-Superconducting (SIS) mixer technology while bands 6 & 7 (1410-1910 GHz) use Hot Electron Bolometer (HEB) mixer technology. HIFI is a double side band instrument and hence contains both the upper and lower side band of the down converted sky signal. The gain in the upper and lower side band is not always equal. This effect introduces a calibration uncertainty that must be understood in order to achieve the HIFI calibration goal of 3%. To determine the frequency dependent side band ratio for each mixer band, a gas cell test set up was developed. During the instrument level testing a number of simple (12eo, 13eo and OeS) and complex (CHgCN and CH30H) molecules were observed using the HIFI instrument. Using a radiative transfer model with the measured pressure and optical path length of the gas cell and molecular line parameters taken from the JPL and HITRAN catalogs, model spectra can be generated. By comparing the generated spectra with the observed spectra the side band gain can be determined. In order to extract the side band ratio a number of additional instrumentation effects must first be understood. Bands 1 and 2 shows good performance and the side band ratio was extracted for these bands. The data showed good agreement with predicted antenna response. Bands 3 and 4 had significant IF gain effects due to a diplexer mistuning problems. Band 5 had spurious LO signals at certain frequencies making the data observed unusable. Bands 6 & 7 had significant standing wave issues due to a non-optimal IF chain design. These instrument effects are discussed in detail in this thesis. The final part of the thesis details the first step in the analysis of the methanol (CHgOH) data. This dataset makes up 80% of all data taken during the gas cell test campaign. Unfortunately the pressure broadening (variation of line width with pressure) was not known before the analysis. This was extracted from the data using a 2 parameter fit where the side band ratio was the other free variable. This approach was shown to be problematic with multiple viable solutions possible. It was proposed to use the analysis of the simpler molecules to constrain the pressure broadening extraction process. The methanol pressure broadening parameters were extracted from the data and showed some frequency dependence. The values extracted were in reasonable agreement with the values predicted in other publications. A first pass extraction of the side band ratio was undertaken at the lower edge of band 2, there was a large degree of scatter in the measured data but an encouraging agreement was seen with the side band ratio values extracted from the other simpler molecules.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Advanced optical calibration; Herschel HIFI heterodyne spectrometer;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Experimental Physics
Item ID: 2584
Depositing User: IR eTheses
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2011 16:43

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