Instrumentation service

Organigramme du service

Spatial or terrestrial experiments require covering all techniques ranging from the design, implementation, testing and development of complex instrumentation sub-assemblies.

The Experimental Techniques department of the APC laboratory regroups the following professions:

It is composed of a dozen engineers. Our work encompasses all phases of instrument development: from design, implementation, integration, verification and calibration to project management and system engineering. Each member of the department is assigned to one or more projects in the laboratory and according to a matrix organization after analysis and approval by the Project Monitoring Unit.

Technical means

To carry out the development and tests associated with the projects, the members of the service have access to software suites and standard or specific materials:


The software used in optics at APC is Zemax (simulation, design of optical systems, performance calculation ...) and optocad (propagation of Gaussian beams, simulation ...). RF superconducting components are simulated with CST Microwave Studio and ASICs operating at cryogenic temperatures are designed in full custom with CADENCE.

    The Clean Room

The APC has a clean room of 128m2 in ISO8 class. This room hosts the optical experiments related to the LISA and VIRGO projects. A part dedicated to joint projects of the APC hosts the space simulator.

    The comb of frequencies

The laboratory has a MenloSystems brand comb. It is a laser that emits a set of frequencies spaced 250 MHz, over a wide spectral band (between 1 and 2 micrometers). Each mode (or frequency) is locked in phase, which implies that the emission of this laser is pulsed, with a repetition frequency of 250MHz. Each pulse lasts a few femtoseconds. A frequency comb has many applications. It can be used, for example, once stabilized on an external reference, to serve as a frequency reference at any wavelength (between 1 and 2 micrometers). It also serves as a link between radio frequencies and optical frequencies: if the comb is stabilized at 1.5 micrometer, this stability can be recovered on its output at 250MHz and then converted to 1GHz or 10MHz to be used as reference for electronic devices.

    The 100mK Pulse Tube Dilution Cryostat

It is a cryostat from Oxford Instruments. It is a dilution of a power of 160 microW @ 100mK associated with a pulsed tube. This cryostat operates continuously without supply of cryogenic fluid. It is dedicated to the development of new detection architectures for Observation Cosmology

  • The Network Vector Analyzer

    The network vector analyzer from ABmm covers the frequencies from 70 to 220 GHz. Devices such as, for example, filters or antennas can be characterized either at ambient in quasi-optical mode or at cryogenic temperatures in guided mode.

  • Low noise laboratory

    This laboratory (8.3 x 4.5 or 37.5 m2) is dedicated to low frequency noise tests (0.1mHz-1Hz). To minimize external vibrations, it is installed in the basement of the Condorcet building at the University of Paris-Diderot.


  • R & D Bolometers: The objective of R & D bolometers is to develop a detector featuring a few dozen or even a few hundred superconducting bolometers as part of the national projects "Concerted Developments of Bolometer Matrices" (DCMB) and "B-Mode Superconducting Detectors" ). The BSD project is an R & D project designed to develop a new generation of detection architectures from superconducting planar components for post-Planck space missions or post-Earth observatories dedicated to the detection of polarized anisotropies of the cosmic diffuse background.
  • R & D SiPM: The APC is involved in R & D on SiPM technologies, (a) the use of SiPM technology, (b) SiPM characterization for cryogenic applications (TPC - DarkSide), (c) The development of specific technologies (ASIC CMOS) for the design of SPAD matrices.
  • Microelectronics Cryogenics: The APC develops electronic devices cooled at very low temperatures (77 K, 4.2 K and 300 mK) for the reading and the implementation of superconducting sensors.
  • QUBIC: The purpose of the QUBIC (Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) project is to detect the B modes of the cosmic diffuse background.
  • TARANIS: Taranis is a CNES microsatellite for the study of transient atmospheric phenomena related to storm activity: Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), sprites, blue jets, red giants, Elves "and relationships between them. For this purpose, it is equipped with several experiments in visible imaging, electric and magnetic field measurement, electron detection and X and gamma photon measurement.
  • ELISA: LISA is a project for the detection of gravitational waves in space. The CPA carries out R & D activities on this project, working on optical parts such as interferometry, simulation and laser frequency stabilization.
  • AdVIRGO: The Virgo detector is a Michelson interferometer designed to detect gravitational waves, radiative solutions to the equations that govern the dynamics of space-time. An advanced second-generation detector (Advanced Virgo) is currently being developed to improve detection performance and sensitivity.
  • Euclid: The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected the M1 and M2 missions of the Cosmic Vision program: M2 is the Euclid mission (launch planned for 2019) in which the APC is involved with the FACe for data processing.
  • ATHENA: Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics (ATHENA) is ESA's second Large Space Mission (L2) in the long-term Cosmic Vision program. This mission is dedicated to the scientific theme The hot and violent Universe that it plans to explore with the launch in 2028 of a large observatory of X astronomy designed by a consortium of European institutes, especially France , Germany and Italy, and with US and Japanese participation.
  • ANTARES / KM3NeT / ORCA: The ANTARES Collaboration builds a Cherenkov detector at 2500 m at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, optimized for detecting muons from high-energy astrophysical neutrinos. The Collaboration KM3NeT develops a future telescope of one km3. The ORCA (Oscillation Research with Cosmic in the Abyss) detector is an underwater Cherenkov neutrino detector, intended to be part of the distributed KM3NeT infrastructure.
  • EUSO-Ballon: It is a prototype of the future UV telescope for the detection of cosmic ultra-high energy rays aboard the International Space Station (ISS)