AzTEC is a 144-element bolometer array camera developed at the University of Massachusetts in collaboration with researchers at Caltech, Cardiff, INAOE, Sejong University, and Smith College. In its 1.1mm configuration, AzTEC is sensitive to the emission from a wide range of astronomical sources over all spatial scales and epochs. In particular, AzTEC is sensitive to the thermal emission of cool dust and the spectral distortion of the Cosmic Microwave Background due to the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect.
The detector array, composed of 144 silicon nitride micromesh bolometers fabricated on a single wafer of silicon, is nearly identical to that used in the BOLOCAM instrument. The array can be configured to operate at 1.1 and 2.1 mm, although only one bandpass will be available per observing run.
AzTEC was commissioned on the JCMT during an initial run in June 2005 and then resided at the JCMT doing a series of scientific observations between November 2005 and February 2006. In April 2007 AzTEC was installed as a temporary facility instrument on the ASTE telescope in the Atacama desert in Chile. AzTEC will remain at ASTE until November 2008 when it will be relocated to its final home, the Large Millimeter Telescope.
AzTEC was constructed with support from the National Science Foundation (grant #s 0540852 and 0215916) and by the Large Millimeter Telescope project.