The Michigan Infrared Test Thermal ELT N-band (MITTEN) cryostat

R. Bowens, E. Viges, M. R. Meyer, D. Atkinson, J. Monnier, M. Morgenstern, J. Leisenring, W. Hoffmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


We introduce the Michigan Infrared Test Thermal ELT N-band (MITTEN) Cryostat, a new facility for testing infrared detectors with a focus on mid-infrared (MIR) wavelengths (8-13 microns). New generations of large format, deep well, fast readout MIR detectors are now becoming available to the astronomical community. As one example, Teledyne Imaging Sensors (TIS) has introduced a long-wave Mercury-Cadmium-Telluride (MCT) array, GeoSnap, with high quantum efficiency (> 65 %) and improved noise properties compared to previous generation Si:As blocked impurity band (BIB) detectors. GeoSnap promises improved sensitivities, and efficiencies, for future background-limited MIR instruments, in particular with future extremely large telescopes (ELTs). We describe our new test facility suitable for measuring characteristics of these detectors, such as read noise, dark current, linearity, gain, pixel operability, quantum efficiency, and point source imaging performance relative to a background scene, as well as multiple point sources of differing contrast. MITTEN has an internal light source, and soon an accompanying filter wheel and aperture plate, re-imaged onto the detector using an Offner relay. The baseline temperature of the cryostat interior is maintained < 40 K and the optical bench maintains a temperature of 16 K using a two-stage pulse-tube cryocooler package from Cryomech. No measurable background radiation from the cryostat interior has yet been detected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VIII
EditorsChristopher J. Evans, Julia J. Bryant, Kentaro Motohara
ISBN (Electronic)9781510636811
StatePublished - 2020
EventGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VIII 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Dec 14 2020Dec 22 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VIII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Cryostat design
  • Infrared detectors
  • Mid-infrared instrumentation
  • Test facilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The Michigan Infrared Test Thermal ELT N-band (MITTEN) cryostat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this