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East-Asia Front End Integration Center (EA-FEIC)

General description

The East-Asia Front End Integration Center (EA FEIC) is a facility that integrates the Front End components into Front End assemblies, tests all the integrated Front End assemblies, and ships them out to Chile. There are two more integration centers in addition to EA FEIC, one in North America (NA FEIC), and the other in United Kingdom in Europe (EU FEIC). The mission of the three FEICs is to deliver 69 Front End assemblies to the ALMA project, and 22 of 69 are going to be delivered by EA FEIC (17 under the collaboration with ALMA Japan and 5 under the collaboration with ALMA North America).

The first receiver made by the EAFEIC was safely delivered to the OSF on December 2008. This very first unit from EAFEIC was installed into one of the first two ALMA antennas assembled and accepted at the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) in Chile, and was used together with another front-end subsystem assembled by North-America (NA) FEIC to acquire the first astronomical fringes of the ALMA project in April 2009.

After the delivery of some Front End assemblies in 2010 to the ALMA project, in 2011, 13 more Front Ends were assembled and tested. And by January 4, 2012, the last one of the 17 Front Ends for ALMA Japan was delivered to the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) in Chile. The successful completion of the 17 ALMA Japan Front Ends is a major milestone for the ALMA project in Taiwan. It, furthermore, solidifies partnership and collaboration between Taiwan and Japan.

In the meantime, the FEIC staff are already further engaged in the assembly and testing of the 5 additional Front Ends for North America. One of the ALMA-NA FE has already been shipped to Chile.

ALMA-Taiwan and ALMA-Japan team members after the acceptance
test at OSF (Operations Support Facility) in Chile.

Engineers insert cartridge to FE cryostat at OSF.

The first EA Front End at OSF in Chile is ready to operate
together with the first NA Front End.

Bird's view of ALMA Operations Support Facility in Chile.

EA FEIC engineers execute acceptance test at OSF.

The first EAFE Started PAI(Preliminary Acceptance In-house) Test, Cryostat
Cooling down in an environmental Chamber at EAFEIC in Taichung.

ALMA EA-FEIC Completed the Last ACA Receiver System

On January 4 2012, the ALMA East Asia Front-End Integration Center (EA-FEIC) in Taiwan completed the fabrication and evaluation of all the receiver systems for the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) and delivered them to the Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) in Chile. This is an important milestone for the ALMA EA team in collaboration between Japan and Taiwan.

The ALMA telescope uses different receivers according to the target frequency. Since the receivers have superconductive devices which are operated at -269 degrees Celsius (=4 degrees Kelvin), they are contained in a big cooling apparatus called "cryostat" and installed in the antenna. The function of the Front-End Integration Center is to install a set of receivers into the cryostat and evaluate the integrated receiver system. The EA-FEIC, located in Taichung, Taiwan, is operated by the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) of Taiwan as one of the three ALMA FEICs in East Asia, North America, and Europe. The EA-FEIC is also responsible for the assembly and evaluation of the receiver systems for the ACA consisting of 16 Japanese antennas, which is nicknamed IZAYOI.

The first ALMA receiver system was delivered from the EA-FEIC to the JAO at the end of 2008. After three years, the EA-FEIC finished all the integration and evaluation of the ACA receiver systems and completed the delivery to the JAO. These receiver systems are being installed sequentially in the assembled antennas, and some of them have already been used for observation.

The picture shows the EA-FEIC staff members celebrating the delivery of the
last receiver system (blue cylinder-shaped object in the middle of the photo).

The picture shows the laboratory of the EA-FEIC. Each of the two rooms
(shown right and left) has one testing device for simultaneous
evaluation of two receiver systems.

Laboratory of the EA-FEIC with one testing device.

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