Large Millimeter Telescope

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Large Millimeter Telescope
GTM imagen.JPG
Alternative namesLMT Edit this at Wikidata
Part ofEvent Horizon Telescope Edit this on Wikidata
Location(s)Sierra Negra
Coordinates18°59′09″N 97°18′53″W / 18.985833333333°N 97.314722222222°W / 18.985833333333; -97.314722222222Coordinates: 18°59′09″N 97°18′53″W / 18.985833333333°N 97.314722222222°W / 18.985833333333; -97.314722222222 Edit this at Wikidata
OrganizationNational Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics
University of Massachusetts Amherst Edit this on Wikidata
Altitude4,640 m (15,220 ft) Edit this at Wikidata
Built2001–2010 (2001–2010) Edit this at Wikidata
First light17 June 2011 Edit this on Wikidata
Telescope styleCassegrain reflecting telescope
radio telescope Edit this on Wikidata
Diameter50 m (164 ft 1 in) Edit this at Wikidata
Secondary diameter2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) Edit this at Wikidata
Collecting area1,960 m2 (21,100 sq ft) Edit this at Wikidata
Focal length525 m (1,722 ft 5 in) Edit this at Wikidata
Mountingaltazimuth mount Edit this on Wikidata Edit this at Wikidata Edit this at Wikidata
Large Millimeter Telescope is located in Mexico
Large Millimeter Telescope
Location of Large Millimeter Telescope
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The Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) (Spanish: Gran Telescopio Milimétrico, or GTM) -officially Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (Spanish: Gran Telescopio Milimétrico Alfonso Serrano)- is the world's largest single-aperture telescope in its frequency range, built for observing radio waves in the wave lengths from approximately 0.85 to 4 mm. It has an active surface with a diameter of 50 metres (160 ft) and 1,960 square metres (21,100 sq ft) of collecting area.[1]

Location of the LMT.

It is located at an altitude of 4850 metres on top of the Sierra Negra, the fifth highest peak in Mexico and an extinct volcanic companion to Mexico's highest mountain, the Pico de Orizaba, inside the National Park Pico de Orizaba in the state of Puebla. It is a binational Mexican (70%) – American (30%) joint project of the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Millimetre wavelength observations using the LMT will give astronomers a view of regions which are obscured by dust in the interstellar medium, thus increasing our knowledge about star formation. The telescope is also particularly fitted for observing solar system planetesimals and planets and extra-solar protoplanetary disks which are relatively cold and emit most of their radiation at millimetre wavelengths.[2]

The mission of the LMT is: 1) pursuing pioneering research, 2) train the future generations of scientists and engineers and 3) develop new technology for the benefit of society.[3] The LMT mainly studies thermally cold objects, most of them associated to large amounts of cosmic dust and/or molecular gas. Among the objects of interest are: comets, planets, protoplanetary discs, evolved stars, star-forming regions and galaxies, molecular clouds, active galactic nuclei (AGNs), high-redshift galaxies, clusters of galaxies and the cosmic microwave background.[4]

The LMT is a bent Cassegrain optical system with a 50m-diameter reflecting primary surface (M1) formed by 180 segments, these are distributed in five concentric rings. The number of segments in the rings, from the centre of the dish to the outside are: 12, 24 and 48 in the three outermost rings. Each segment is connected to the structure of the telescope through four actuators, allowing to have an active reflecting primary surface. As well, each segment is formed by eight precision electro-formed nickel sub-panels. The reflecting secondary surface (M2) has a 2.6m diameter, also built by nine electro-formed nickel sub-panels, and is attached to the telescope with an active hexapod that allows precise focus, lateral offsets and tilts. The hexapod is attached to the telescope through a metal tetrapod. Finally, the reflecting tertiary surface (M3) is almost flat, elliptical with a 1.6m major axis and delivers the light beam to the receivers.[5]


INAOE and UMass-Amherst signed the agreement to develop the Large Millimeter Telescope project on 17 November 1994, but construction of the telescope did not begin until 1998.[6][7] The first observations were taken in June 2011 at 1.1 and 3 mm using the AzTEC camera and Redshift Search Receiver (RSR), respectively.[8] In May 2013, the Early Science phase began, producing over a dozen scientific articles. The official name of the LMT was changed to "Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano" on 22 October 2012 in order to honour the initiator of the project, Alfonso Serrano Pérez-Grovas.


The set of LMT instrumentation is built by heterodyne receivers and broad-band continuum cameras, some of them still under development:

Broad-band continuum[edit]


TolTEC is a three-band imaging polarimeter that has completed laboratory testing and is scheduled to be installed and commissioned on the LMT in the fall of 2021. Once installed, TolTEC will image the sky at three (1.1, 1.4 and 2.1 millimetre) bands simultaneously using 7000 polarization-sensitive kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs).  Each TolTEC observation will produce nine independent images - measuring total intensity (I) and two Stokes parameters (Q and U) in all three bands. Because of the nearly ubiquitous presence of dust in our universe, TolTEC's science reach includes cosmology, the physics of clusters, galaxy evolution and star-formation along the history of the Universe, the relation between the star-forming process and the molecular clouds, small bodies of the Solar System, and much more.  The TolTEC Project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Heterodyne Receivers[edit]

SEQUOIA [11][12]

SEQUOIA operates in the range 85–116 GHz band using a cryogenic focal-plane array of 32 pixels arranged in dual-polarized 4×4 arrays fed by square horns separated by 2 fλ. The arrays are cooled to 18K and use low-noise Indium Phosphide (InP) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) preamplifiers designed at UMass to provide a characteristic receiver noise of 55K in the range 85–107 GHz, increasing to 90K at 116 GHz.

Redshift Search Receiver (RSR)[13][14][12]

A novel MMIC-based receiver designed to maximize the instantaneous receiver bandwidth to cover the 90 GHz atmospheric window from 75 to 110 GHz in a single tuning. The receiver has four pixels arranged in a dual-beam and dual polarized configuration. Orthogonal polarizations are combined in waveguide-based orthomode transducers. Beam-switching at 1 kHz on the sky is achieved using a fast Faraday rotation polarization switch and a wire-grid to interchange the reflected and transmitted beams to each receiver. This ultra-wide-band receiver typically achieves noise temperatures < 50K between 75 and 110 GHz. The Redshift Search Receiver has exceptional baseline stability because it does not involve mechanical moving parts, therefore being well-suited to the detection of redshifted transitions of the CO ladder from star-forming galaxies at cosmological distances. An innovative wide-band analog autocorrelator system which covers the full 38 GHz with 31 MHz (100 km/s at 90 GHz) resolution serves as the backed spectrometer.



The AzTEC millimetre camera was developed to operate at 1.1mm. It is formed by a 144 silicon nitride micromesh bolometer array arranged in a compact hexagonal package and fed by an array of horns separated by 1.4 fλ. The detectors are cooled down to ~250 mK inside a 3He closed-cycle cryostat, achieving a ~3 mJy Hz-1/2 pixel sensibility. The AzTEC field of view at the LMT is 2.4 arcminutes square and manages to take completely sampled images through telescope or reflecting secondary surface movements.


  1. ^ "General Information". LMT – Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Mexico's Large Millimeter Telescope Opens for Business". Science | AAAS. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  3. ^ "The LMT Book". LMT – Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Science with the LMT". LMT – Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Telescope Description". LMT – Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  6. ^ Paz, Susana. "El Gran Telescopio Milimétrico observa el universo desde Puebla". México Ciencia y Tecnología (in European Spanish). Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Ground-Breaking Set for UMass Amherst-Mexico Large Millimeter Telescope". Office of News & Media Relations | UMass Amherst. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  8. ^ "UMass Amherst Astronomers, Partnering With Mexican Institute Receive First Light Data from Giant New Telescope". Office of News & Media Relations | UMass Amherst. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  9. ^ "The TolTEC Camera". Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  10. ^ "UMass Amherst Leads International Astronomical Camera Project". Office of News & Media Relations | UMass Amherst. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  11. ^ "SEQUOIA". LMT – Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  12. ^ a b Hughes, David H.; Schloerb, F. Peter; Aretxaga, Itziar; Castillo-Domínguez, Edgar; Chávez Dagostino, Miguel; Colín, Edgar; Erickson, Neal; Ferrusca Rodriguez, Daniel; Gale, David M.; Gómez-Ruiz, Arturo; Hernández Rebollar, José Luis (1 December 2020). Marshall, Heather K; Spyromilio, Jason; Usuda, Tomonori (eds.). "The Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) Alfonso Serrano: current status and telescope performance". Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (Spie) Conference Series. 1445: 1144522. Bibcode:2020SPIE11445E..22H. doi:10.1117/12.2561893. ISBN 9781510636774. S2CID 230579334.
  13. ^ "REDSHIFT". Archived from the original on 23 May 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Redshift Search Receiver (RSR)". LMT – Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  15. ^ "UMass Astronomy – AzTEC". Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  16. ^ "AzTEC". LMT – Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

External links[edit]