The TolTEC Project

The goal of the TolTEC project is to build and commission a new millimeter-wavelength camera that takes maximal advantage of the astounding properties of the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT). Through a collaboration of expert millimeter-wavelength scientists at seven institutions in three countries, TolTEC utilizes the latest technologies developed for studying the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background by bringing them to bear on studies of objects that span all spatial scales across the entire Universe.

Here are the key features of the camera.

Wavelength Beamsize (FWHM) Number of Pixels Number of detectors Mapping Speed
2.1mm 9.5 arcseconds 500 1000 26 deg^2/mJy^2/hr
1.4mm 6.3 arcseconds 1000 2000 15 deg^2/mJy^2/hr
1.1 mm 5 arcseconds 2000 4000 13 deg^2/mJy^2/hr

Our camera will have a total of 7,000 detectors spread across three different bands in the electromagnetic spectrum. We are utilizing Lumped Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors (LEKIDs) developed through a collaboration between Arizona State University, Cardiff University, the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Each TolTEC detector is sensitive to a single linear polarization of the incoming light and so each observation of TolTEC results in six different images of the sky - one in each polarization of each of TolTEC's three bands.

It takes more than just a big camera to make leaps forward in our understanding of our Universe. TolTEC is able to achieve incredible sensitivity and mapping speeds by being coupled to the LMT - a 50 meter diameter millimeter-wavelength telescope in Mexico. The LMT is situated on a mountain peak at 15,000 ft elevation, a site that affords excellent observing conditions for the "dry season" - October to June - of each year. The combination of the LMT and TolTEC will produce a system capable of mapping the sky with a resolution of up to 5 arcseconds and a mapping speed of approximately 10 square degrees/square mJy/hr. This is more than 100 times faster than the LMT currently maps the sky with the AzTEC camera.