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PACS Instrument

The Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) is a photometer and medium resolution spectrometer that is being developed and built by a consortium led by Albrecht Poglitsch of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany. NASA is not one of the contributors to this instrument.

It has two bolometer arrays for imaging photometry, and two stressed/unstressed germanium galium bolometer arrays for imaging line spectroscopy.

PACS observes wavelengths from 60 to 210 microns, a range in which the spectral energy distributions from forming planetary systems, stars, and galaxies reach their maximum. This range is optimal for studying young, distant, dusty, star-forming galaxies, since their line and continuum emissions are red-shifted into the middle of PACS' range.



The Photometer

In photometry mode, PACS simultaneously images its 130-210 micron band with a choice of either the 60-90 or 90-130 micron band.

PACS performs deep broadband surveys to measure the redshifted radiation from interstellar dust, and the emission from nonthermal sources in forming galaxies and quasars. It has investigated nearby AGNs and interacting galaxies.



Grating spectrometer

PACS' grating spectrometer observes the range from 55-210 microns. PACS employs a reflection grating, in which numerous grooves at regular intervals on a reflective surface diffract light like a prism.

The spectrometer measures the redshift of intermediate to very distant objects through bright ionic fine structure lines, performs detailed spectroscopy of AGNs to determine what produces their copious amounts of energy (thought to be starbursts or black hole accretion), and observes atomic and molecular transitions in very distant objects to study star formation and heavy element production in the early Universe.

PACS combines the photometric sensitivity needed to survey over a large dynamic range with the spectroscopic sensitivity and resolution needed to identify and characterize the discovered objects, and to interpret the mechanisms that drive star and galaxy formation and the high-energy phenomena that occur in active galaxies and outflows from young stellar objects.

To learn more, visit the PACS web site.
 
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