With the new technology of hot electron bolometers (HEB) low-noise
heterodyne observations at THz frequencies are now possible and observations
of high frequency molecular transitions as well as ionized material will allow
us a detailed study of the far-infrared universe.
We are in the process of constructing such a THz receiver covering the two atmospheric windows at 1.3 and 1.5 THz. Indeed the poor atmospheric transmission at THz frequencies is one of the major problems and astronomical observations will only be possible from the very best ground-based sites, or from airplanes and satellites. Therefore the instrument is designed to be modular so that it can be used on different ground-based telescopes as well as the SOFIA airplane observatory. Principal scientific targets will be high-mass star forming regions, the warm ionized medium (WIM) especially in the Galactic ring and molecular cloud chemistry.
We are currently in the phase of detailed design and expect to assemble the receiver in 2004. First lab tests are scheduled to take place in late 2004 or early 2005 and first test observations by the middle of 2005.
For more information look at the CONDOR homepage.