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KIDSpec: An MKID-Based Medium-Resolution, Integral Field Spectrograph

O’Brien, Kieran

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KIDSpec, the Kinetic Inductance Detector Spectrograph, is a concept for a highly sensitive, medium-spectral-resolution optical through near-IR spectrograph. It uses the intrinsic-energy-resolving capability of an array of optical/IR-sensitive MKIDs to distinguish multiple orders from a low-resolution grating. By acting as an ‘order resolver,’ the MKID array replaces the cross-disperser in an echelle spectrograph. This greatly simplifies the optical layout of the spectrograph and enables longer slits than are possible with cross-dispersed instruments (to improve sky subtraction). KIDSpec would have similar capabilities to ESO’s highly successful X-shooter instrument. It would provide an R = 4000–10,000 spectrum covering the optical and near-IR spectral range (0.4–1.5 µm). As well as a ‘long-slit’ mode, the IFU would provide a small ( ∼50 spaxel ) field of view for spatially resolved sources. In addition, the photon-counting operation of MKIDs and their photon-energy-resolving ability enable a read-noise-free spectrum with perfect cosmic ray removal. The spectral resolution would be sufficient to remove the bright night-sky lines without the additional pixel noise, making the instrument more sensitive than an equivalent semiconductor-based instrument. KIDSpec would enhance many existing high-profile science cases, including transient (GRB, SNe, etc.) follow-up, redshift determination of faint objects and transit spectroscopy of exoplanets. In addition, it will enable unique science cases, such as dynamical mass estimates of the compact objects in ultra-compact binaries.


O’Brien, K. (2020). KIDSpec: An MKID-Based Medium-Resolution, Integral Field Spectrograph. Journal of Low Temperature Physics, 199(1-2), 537-546.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 30, 2020
Publication Date Apr 30, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 30, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 30, 2020
Journal Journal of Low Temperature Physics
Print ISSN 0022-2291
Electronic ISSN 1573-7357
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 199
Issue 1-2
Pages 537-546


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (1.1 Mb)

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