www.sron.nl/122-hifi2/hifi.html

19-05-2015
solving-the-primeval-dust-puzzle

Solving the primeval dust puzzle

SRON researcher Elisa Costantini will receive a Vidi grant from Dutch science financier NWO. Costantini and her team will study the primaeval dust in the interstellar medium to shed new light on for instance star formation and the formation of planets. With the grant, which will add up to a maximum of 800.000 euros, Costantini will be able to set up her own new research line.         More
29-04-2015
willem-jellema-defends-thesis-on-optical-performance-hifi

Willem Jellema defends thesis on optical performance HIFI

On Friday, May 1, SRON researcher Willem Jellema will defends his PhD thesis at the University of Groningen. In his thesis Optical Design and Performance Verification of Herschel-HIFI  Jellema treats the verification, description and calibration of the optical performance of the Dutch molecule hunter HIFI, one of the three instruments aboard the Herschel Space Telescope (ESA, 2009-2013). Jellema was responsible for several breakthroughs in this area.        Read more (in dutch)
08-04-2015
sron-present-at-hannover-messe-2015

SRON present at Hannover Messe 2015

In cooperation with other NWO institutes SRON will be present at the technology fair Hannover Messe 2015, which takes place 13-17 April. The NWO stand is part of the Holland High Tech House, together with a stand from the Dutch space sector (NL Space). At both stands SRON will show demonstration models of space technology.        Read more (in dutch)
18-02-2015
financial-support-for-museum-and-observatory-sonnenborgh

Financial support for museum and observatory Sonnenborgh

Sonnenborgh – museum & observatory receives a one time financial injection for a healthy future. The municipality of Utrecht, University of Utrecht, K.F. Hein Fonds Monumenten and the Stichting Vrienden van Sonnenborgh have decided this. The support amounts to almost €400.000.         Read more (in dutch)
29-01-2015
millions-for-intermediate-black-holes-and-ground-breaking-redshift-machine

Millions for intermediate black holes and revolutionary redshift instrument

The European Research Council has awarded SRON researchers Jochem Baselmans (2,4 million euros) and Peter Jonker (2 million euros) prestigious research grants. Jonker will chase intermediate-mass black holes to find out if they really exist. Baselmans will develop a ground-breaking instrument to measure the redshift of so called submillimeter galaxies, distant galaxies that are responsible for the cosmic infrared background radiation.         More

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Summary

HIFI's superb spectral resolution coupled with its ability to observe thousands of molecular, atomic and ionic lines at submillimeter wavelengths make it the instrument of choice to address many of the key  questions in modern astrophysics related to the cyclic interaction of stars and the interstellar medium:
  1. HIFI will probe the physics, kinematics and energetics of star forming regions through their cooling lines, including H2O, the major coolant.
  2. HIFI will survey the molecular inventory of such diverse regions as shocked molecular clouds, dense Photon-Dominated Regions (PDRs), diffuse atomic clouds, Hot Cores and proto-planetary disks around newly formed stars, winds from dying stars and toroids interacting with AGN engines.
  3. HIFI is uniquely suited to search for low-lying ro-vibrational transitions of complex species such as PAHs and, thus, to investigate the origin and evolution of the molecular universe.
  4. HIFI can provide the out-gassing rate of comets through H2O rotational lines and determine the vertical distribution of H2O in the giant planets and on Mars.
  5. HIFI can measure the mass-loss history of stars which, rather than nuclear burning, regulates stellar evolution after the main sequence, and dominates the gas and dust mass balance of the ISM.
  6. HIFI will measure the FIR line spectrum of nearby galaxies as templates for distant, possibly primordial galaxies.

The main reason to build HIFI was because the above sketched science cannot be done from the ground, since atmospheric water lines block all radiation coming from space. On the right plots are given of the atmospheric transmission.

HIFI is optimised to address the astronomical key questions given above. All of these require high spectral resolving powers and sensitivity. Combining the high spectral resolving power of the radio heterodyne technique with quantum-noise limited detection from superconductor physics and state-of-the-art microwave technology, has made it possible to develop an instrument with a continuous frequency coverage from 480 to 1250 GHz in five bands, plus a sixth band providing coverage for 1410-1910 GHz at an unrivalled spectral resolution and ultimate sensitivity. This instrument is able to perform rapid and complecte spectral line surveys with resolving powers from 103 up to 107 (300 - 0.03 km/s) and deep line observations.

HIFI Band

1

2

3

4

5

6

Coverage (GHz)

480-
640

640-
800

800-
960

960-
1120

1120-
1250

1410-
1910

Half Power
Beamwidth
(arcsec)

39

30

25

21

19

13

Rec. Noise
(DSB) in K
Baseline values

110

145

175

210

370

800