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POM-2 takes off

With the dismounting of the POM-2 radio telescope and its astrodome in the afternoon of October 13th, 2007, a long chapter of Plateau de Bure history came to an end (Fig. 6). The building will be renovated and enlarged to accomodate a micro chip test facility.

Historical Background

POM-2 (Petite Operation Millimétrique 2) had its origin when one dish of the two-antenna test interferometer POM-1 at Bordeaux, France was moved to the Plateau de Bure, with the support of CNRS astrophysical group at the Observatoire de Grenoble. The instrument was commissioned in July 1986 when the PdBI was still under construction. The purpose of its 2.5m Cassegrain reflector was the large-scale mapping of molecular clouds in the 1 mm band. Later it served for tests of the Diabolo dual-channel bolometric photometer.

The parabola and its protecting astrodome were mounted on top of a ground floor with living quarters, and connected to the IRAM living quarters by an underground gallery. This allowed the staff of both observatories to visit each other when weather conditions made the 20 meter walk from one building to the other difficult. Sometimes IRAM staff would lend a hand to clear the ice from POM-2's four-meter cupola before observations, a task which could take several hours. A number of young astronomers got their first millimeter observing experience there, with the support of Bernard FOUILLEUX (LAOG).

As time went by POM-2 was used less, and in recent years the building served essentially as additional sleeping quarters for IRAM and experiments on the impact of high-energy cosmic particles (especially neutrons) on the operation of micro chips. The latter activity became more important in 2006 with the inauguration of ASTEP, the first European platform for radiative characterization (a collaboration of L2MP/CNRS, Universities Aix-Marseille 1 and 3, University of Toulon, and a large commercial microelectronics company).

Michael BREMER

Refurbishment of POM-2

In order to provide space for new experiments from the L2MP (Laboratoire Matériaux et Microélectronique de Provence, CNRS), a refurbishment of the POM2 building is being done. The technical parts of the building will soon accommodate equipment dedicated to Single Event Effect testing on electronic components.

The waterproofing of the building has been renovated, walls have been painted, and the electrical system has been modernized.

The dismounted POM-2 reflector will be stored in Montmaur, and the dismantled dome will be replaced by an octagonal watertight structure that shall accommodate an atmospheric neutron detector.

Bertrand GAUTIER

Figure 6: Dismounting of the POM2 astrodome.

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Next: Staff Changes Up: IRAM Newsletter 70 (February 2008) Previous: IRAM Granada News