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Mandolesi N.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | Bersanelli M.,University of Milan | Butler R.C.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | Artal E.,University of Cantabria | And 160 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2010

This paper provides an overview of the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) programme within the ESA Planck mission. The LFI instrument has been developed to produce high precision maps of the microwave sky at frequencies in the range 27-77 GHz, below the peak of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation spectrum. The scientific goals are described, ranging from fundamental cosmology to Galactic and extragalactic astrophysics. The instrument design and development are outlined, together with the model philosophy and testing strategy. The instrument is presented in the context of the Planck mission. The LFI approach to ground and inflight calibration is described. We also describe the LFI ground segment. We present the results of a number of tests demonstrating the capability of the LFI data processing centre (DPC) to properly reduce and analyse LFI flight data, from telemetry information to calibrated and cleaned time ordered data, sky maps at each frequency (in temperature and polarization), component emission maps (CMB and diffuse foregrounds), catalogs for various classes of sources (the Early Release Compact Source Catalogue and the Final Compact Source Catalogue). The organization of the LFI consortium is briefly presented as well as the role of the core team in data analysis and scientific exploitation. All tests carried out on the LFI flight model demonstrate the excellent performance of the instrument and its various subunits. The data analysis pipeline has been tested and its main steps verified. In the first three months after launch, the commissioning, calibration, performance, and verification phases will be completed, after which Planck will begin its operational life, in which LFI will have an integral part. © ESO, 2010.


Bersanelli M.,University of Milan | Bersanelli M.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | Mandolesi N.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | Butler R.C.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | And 118 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2010

In this paper we present the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI), designed and developed as part of the Planck space mission, the ESA programme dedicated to precision imaging of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Planck-LFI will observe the full sky in intensity and polarisation in three frequency bands centred at 30, 44 and 70 GHz, while higher frequencies (100-850 GHz) will be covered by the HFI instrument. The LFI is an array of microwave radiometers based on state-of-the-art indium phosphide cryogenic HEMT amplifiers implemented in a differential system using blackbody loads as reference signals. The front end is cooled to 20 K for optimal sensitivity and the reference loads are cooled to 4 K to minimise low-frequency noise. We provide an overview of the LFI, discuss the leading scientific requirements, and describe the design solutions adopted for the various hardware subsystems. The main drivers of the radiometric, optical, and thermal design are discussed, including the stringent requirements on sensitivity, stability, and rejection of systematic effects. Further details on the key instrument units and the results of ground calibration are provided in a set of companion papers. © ESO, 2010.

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