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

08-06-2016
jupiter-reveals-new-secrets

Jupiter reveals new secrets

Jupiter revealed to astronomers what hides beneath the colourful clouds, dots and stripes we see on the planet.  A new radiomap of Jupiters atmosphere – the most detailed so far - reveals the massive movement of ammonia gas beneath the surface.        Read more (in dutch)
08-06-2016
breakthrough-in-terahertz-spectroscopy

Breakthrough in terahertz-spectroscopy

A small device that detects a chemical substance within seconds, using terahertz radiation. Thanks to an improvement of spectroscopy techniques in this frequency, this possibility could soon be applied. Researchers developed a compact system to achieve the spectroscopic fingerprint of a material within 100 μs, making it a promising as a fast, advantageous and portable application, for example in tracing explosives.        Read more (in dutch)
07-06-2016
lisa-pathfinder-exceeds-expectations

Lisa Pathfinder exceeds expectations

 ESA's LISA Pathfinder mission has succesfully tested precision technology for measuring gravitational waves in space. Measurents in the past two months show that the technological concept - using laser beams to measure very accurately tiny variations in the distance between two test cubes that travel through space in free fall - exceeds all expectations.         More
06-06-2016
stan-gielen-new-chair-nwo-with-effect-from-january-2017

Stan Gielen new chair NWO with effect from January 2017

Professor C.C.A.M. (Stan) Gielen will become chair of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) with effect from 1 January 2017. NWO is currently undergoing major changes. The governance and organisation will become more streamlined and coherent. This will put NWO in a better position to optimally realise its core tasks, funding of and innovation in Dutch scientific research and the management of eight national research institutes, both now and in the future. As of 1 September 2016 Stan Gielen will be involved as the future chair of the Executive Board in the further realisation of this organisational change.         More
12-05-2016
climate-change-influences-carbon-cycle

Climate change influences carbon cycle

Satellite measurements of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere shed light on how climate change - taking the shape of for instance heavy rains, draughts and floods - in turn influences the carbon cycle at the Australian continent. The carbon cycle has a big impact on the greenhouse effect. The research results are presented today at the ESA Living Planet Symposium at Prague.        Read more (in dutch)
29-04-2016
loss-of-hitomi-great-blow-to-international-space-research

Loss of Hitomi great blow to international space research

After a perfect launch on 17 February and a few weeks of excellent operations the Japanese space telescope Hitomi was considered to be lost yesterday. A fault in the orientation of the satellite probably led to considerable damage to the space telescope. This is a great blow to international space research. In the few weeks that Hitomi was operational the space telescope produced spectacular observations.        Read more (in dutch)
25-04-2016
mark-rutte-and-jet-bussemaker-visit-sron-stand-at-hannover-messe

Mark Rutte and Jet Bussemaker visit SRON stand at Hannover Messe

At the Hannover Messe 2016 prime-minister Mark Rutte and Science minister Jet Bussemaker (OCW) got aquainted today with SRON research. The members of government attended short, personal presentations on SRON's SPEX technology and the Athena mission.        Read more (in dutch)

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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