Equipment available


The laboratory has measuring equipment and platforms:

Equipment Description Photo
The FACe

The François Arago Centre (FACe) was founded in 2010 with the goal to support space-based experiments facing the challenge of data treatment of steadily increasing and complex data sets. The center provides services, such as computing facilities (HPC cluster and storage), data analysis, archiving, and distribution support, access to the heavy-duty computing facilities at CC-IN2P3, and office space to both, ground and space-based projects with strong French involvement. As a competence center, it also provides training and expertise on new technologies (cloud, Big Data).

In the spirit of François Arago, who combined many fields of natural science in his work, enabled science by focusing attention on new technologies and supporting scientific development through communication between many disciplines, we want to serve the scientific community. The aim is to bring together scientists from different fields, data and software engineers, the scientific community and the general public in order to best exploit the data provided by today’s state-of-the-art experiments.

The FACe is a combined effort of its partners, i.e. the APC laboratory, the French research agency CNRS/IN2P3, the French space agency CNES, the Paris-Diderot University, the IPGP, the CEA/Saclay, the Observatoire de Paris and the Space Campus ( The center is installed in the Biopark complex on the 3rd floor of the building 13 rue Watt in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, across the street of the APC laboratory and within the open campus of the Paris Diderot University.

The computing power and storage volume provided by the FACe represent: 652 cores and 42 TB of storage for the Arago cluster and nearly 80 virtual servers for virtual machine clusters dedicated to the needs of space projects and astroparticles (Euclid, LPF , Lisa, CTA...). All of these services are based on a total storage volume of nearly 180 TB. Within the framework of the various instrumental and space missions, approximately 10 FTEs contribute to the development and expertise in these areas.

As an APC project, the FACe is headed by a project scientist (Cécile Cavet) and a project manager (Michèle Detournay). The scientific projects at the FACe are under the guidance of the project scientist, while the technical and infrastructure aspects are managed by the project manager. The FACe is fully integrated in the organisational structure of the laboratory, i.e. the director of APC is the director of the FACe and the administrative head is the same as at the APC (Emmanuelle Foissac).

The main projects at the FACe in 2017 are Euclid, LISA-Pathfinder, LISA, INTEGRAL, CTA, SVOM, and LabEx UnivEarthS related activities. As an example of support, for the Euclid project, the continuous integration platform is hosted at the FACe and for the LISA project, the future Data Processing Center (DPC) will be designed and hosted by the center.

More information can be found on the website:

Millimetric Laboratory

The Millimetric Laboratory, located on the 4th floor of the Condorcet B-Building, is dedicated to the development of cryogenic detectors and detection architectures for the accurate measurement of the Cosmologic Microwave Background (CMB) polarization. Research focuses more specifically on two developments:

  • Superconducting detectors arrays (bolometers, KIDs) cooled at very low temperatures (T<300mK)
  • Planar superconducting micro-wave components for building advanced detection architectures

These activities are part of the BSD (B-mode Superconducting Detectors) French collaboration, initiated by the APC laboratory, and include also the development of the associated readout electronics. These instruments are tested and validated in the laboratory and are the master pieces of future experiments such as QUBIC.

Skills related with the Millimetric Laboratory include:

  • Characterization of mechanical and electronic components (semi-conductors, superconductors) at cryogenic temperatures (from 77K down to 10mK)
  • Characterization of low frequency (< 1MHz) and Radio Frequency (RF) (> 10GHz) electronics components at ambient and cryogenic temperatures
  • Ultra low noise electronics measurements
  • Simulations of RF components
  • Photometric characterization of cryogenic detectors
  • The following equipment provides the tools for all the aforementioned studies:
  • A dilution free cryostat with pulse-tube cooler (Oxford Instrument, cooling power of 160µW at 100mK)
  • A 300mK 4He/3He cryostat with pulse-tube cooler (Oxford Instrument)
  • A 4K cryostat with pulsed-tube cooler (Oxford Instrument)
  • A 4K photometer covering a wavelength range from 300µm to 3mm (Infrared Lab)
  • A B1500A Semiconductor Device Analyzer (Agilent Technology)
  • A 89411A-DC Vector Signal Analyzer (Hewlett Packard)
  • Several low-noise amplifiers (Stanford Research System)
  • A low-noise Spectrum Analyzer (Stanford Research System)
  • A10GHz-350GHz Vector Network Analyzer (ABmm)
  • Softwares: CST MWS, Sonnet, Zemax
Photodetection laboratory

The Photodetection Laboratory gathers activities on development test and production of photodetection systems for Particle Physics and Astroparticles at the APC laboratory, principally for detectors set-up installed undersea (ANTARES, KM3NET-ORCA), underground (DOUBLE-CHOOZ, DUNE/WA105, on-ground JUNO) or embedded on balloons or satellites (JEM-EUSO). Another possible application is medical imagery. Associated skills are tests and calibrations of photodetectors (PMT, SiPM, APD…), using a patented method to measure the single-electron response, and developments on the associated reading electronics. The Photodetection Laboratory hosts also dedicated instrumentation training sessions for License L3, Master M1 and M2 students.

The equipment of the Photodetection Laboratory includes:

  • CAEN NIM (model NIM8301600) and VME (6021/631) crates
  • CAEN VME-USB 2.0 Bridge, model V1718
  • Hundreds of electronic modules at NIM and VME standard (multi-channels Discriminator, multi-channels TDC and ADC, Translators, Scalers, Logic and Linear Fan-In Fan-Out…)
  • CAEN Multi-channels fast amplifiers, models N978 and N979.
  • CAEN preamplifiers model A424F
  • CAEN Universal Multi-channel Power Supply System 750W, model SY1527LC
  • CAEN A1535N cards for SY1527 slots
  • CAEN N470 4 channels High Voltage Power Supply
  • A TEKTRONIX TDS5104B 4-channels Oscilloscope
  • A FESTO 3-axis table
  • A NEWPORT Motorized rotation plate, model URS75CC
  • A NEWPORT SMC100CC 1-axis controller for CC motor with mounting bracket, USB interface and 80W power supply
  • A NEWPORT optical table (200x100 cm2)
  • Optical components including laser and UV diodes, filters, lenses and adapted supports.
  • A HORIBA Jobin Yvon technology IHR320 imaging spectrometer and a CCD BI UV, cooled with liquid nitrogen.
  • A HORIBA Jobin Yvon technology achromatic adapter for optical fiber.
  • 3 black boxes for photodetectors characterization
  • A KEITLEY 2010/E low-noise multimeter
  • A KEITLEY 6514/E electrometer
VIRGO cleanroom

The VIRGO cleanroom is dedicated to optical measurements and tests for gravitational wave detectors (Advanced VIRGO experiment), R&D activities for new generation instruments (Laguerre-Gauss modes) and possible applications for geosciences (early earthquakes detection). The technics rely on laser interferometry and metrology. The cleanroom is equipped with:

  • Two INNOLAG YAG lasers, model Mephisto 500mW
  • A He-Ne laser
  • Two optical tables
  • A Fullvac 300x500mm2 cylindrical vacuum vessel
  • A ISOWAVE accordable Faraday insulator
  • A DSO1024A oscilloscope
  • Two new Focus 4004 Electro Optic Modulator
  • A PHASICS front-wave analyzer
  • A GENTEC XLP12-1S-H2 power detector
  • A Beamage Focus II beam profiler
  • Six DMK41AUC02 cameras
  • Opto-mechanics and optical components
  • Software: Zemax
LISA cleanroom

The LISA cleanroom hosts experimental test-benches dedicated for TDI measurements on optical signals, studies on active compensation of optical path-length in the framework of the LISAPathfinder and LISA projects. Another test-bench is mounted for R&D on a seismometer, based on gravitational wave detection technique. The 1GHz REFIMEVE+ signal for high precision time measurement is also available in this room. Furthermore, the room is equipped with:

  • A MENLOSYSTEMS comb frequency generator: a laser emits at frequency values separated by a 250MHz interval on a large spectral band (from 1 to 2µm). Each mode or frequency is phase-locked, producing a pulsed emission with a repetition of 250MHz and duration of a few femtoseconds. When stabilized with an external reference, such a device is a high-performance frequency reference for wavelengths between 1 and 2µm. The frequency comb links radiofrequencies with optical frequencies: for instance, when stabilized at 1.5µm, the output signal is converted at 1GHz or 10MHz to be used as reference for other electronic devices.
  • A NKT Photonics fiber laser, model Koheras Basik E15 ( = 1.5µm), with active wavelength control and wide-range thermal wavelength tuning.
  • A INNOLIGHT Mephisto 500 Nd-YAG laser ( = 1064nm, P=500mW)
  • A INNOLIGHT Mephisto 1000 Nd-YAG laser ( = 1064nm, P= 1000mW)
  • 3 optical tables: 2 of size 1.5x1.8m2, 1 of size 1.5x1.5m2
  • A parallepipedic 120x120x40cm3 vacuum vessel including an optical plate for tests down to a pressure of 0.1mbar. Vacuum is produced by a primary pum and a root pump.
  • Optical components: a frequency doubling crystal, lenses, mirrors, Acousto-Optic Modulators (AOM), Electro-Optic Modulators (EOM), motors for optical tuning…
  • A AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES 34980A multi-function switch/measure unit
  • A AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES 34970A data acquisition switch unit
  • Two STANFORD RESEARCH SYSTEMS SR830 DSP lock-in amplifiers
  • A TEKTRONIX AFG3102 oscilloscope
  • A AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES DSO1024A oscilloscope
Integration and test cleanroom

The integration and test cleanroom is a working space of 50m2 whose dust rate, temperature and hygrometry are controlled following the ISO 14644 norm. The air cleanness is of ISO 8 level (for 0.5 µm particles) corresponding to a class of 100 000. A badge system manages the access clearance and users must first put adapted protection clothes (gloves, bouffant hats, lab coats, over shoes) before entering the room which includes the following equipment:

  • A Kelvintech space simulator of 1m3 for vacuum and thermal qualifications of devices or instruments for temperatures between -60oC and + 120OC for pressure down to 10-7mbar.
  • A Labview central acquisition system for temperature, voltage and mechanical stress measurement with 27 channels shared in 10 temperature measurement channels through thermocouples, 4 resistance measurement channels, 10 voltage measurement channels, 3 voltage supply channels: 0 to +20V, -20V to 0V and 0 to +6V.
  • A Millipore Ultra-Pure Water distribution system
  • A fume hood for components cleaning
  • A 3D mechanical measuring machine
  • A probe station for electronic components and detectors tests
This cleanroom hosts for instance the assembly and integration of the XGRE detector for TARANIS, tests of silicium detectors for COCOTTE and preparation of SQUIDs for QUBIC.
Low electromagnetic noise room

The low electromagnetic noise room is air-conditioned, equipped with a Faraday cage and thermalization systems providing an environment minimizing the effects of electromagnetic fields and thermal variations, for testing electronic components. The thermal drifts are suppressed by placing components in a thermal air chamber or a thermal bath. The room is installed in the Condorcet building basement to minimize the effects of building vibrations and its dimensions are of 8.3 x 4.5 m2 (37.5 m2). This facility allows noise characterization of electronics components especially at low frequency in the frequency range from 0.1mHz to 1Hz.

The room temperature is regulated at a value between 20 and 25oC with accuracy better than 1oC and with a calorific power of 20kW. The floor is made antistatic with copper wires embedded in the coating.

Detailed characteristics of the room equipment are the following:

  • A stainless steel Faraday cage (dimensions 3x2.5x2.5 m3) with a PVC antistatic floor, 4 SMA connectors and a wave guide (144x 25mm) for crossings, airing with a cut at 20GHz, 5 EMC filters on power supplies (4x32 A and 2x10 A in 220V), 2 grounding points, 2 wave guides (50mm diameter) with a 20GHz cut for passing liquids or gas.
  • A 3GHz spectral analyzer
  • A 1GHz 4 channels digital oscilloscope
  • A data recorder (temperatures…)
  • High accuracy power supplies
  • A thermal air chamber (560x480x400 mm3) for adjusting temperature At a value between +5 and +70oC with a stability better than +/-0.1oC and an uniformity in the room better than +/- 0.4oC.
  • A thermal bath (150x150x200 mm3) for adjusting temperature at a value between -45 and +200oC, with a stability of +/-0.01oC, a heating capacity of 3.5kW and a cooling capacity of 0.8kW at 20oC.
  • Acquisition systems on PC and measurement devices (multimeters…)

Current use is for the characterization of electronics components of the Warm Front-End Electronics of the X-IFU instrument for ATHENA and tests of a phasemeter for eLISA.

Mechanics workshop

The mechanics workshop, located in the Condorcet B-building ground floor, is dedicated to the production and assembling of mechanical components to build mechanical structures for instruments or produce specific test and integration tools. The affected technician is skilled in programming and machining different kind of materials (plastics, metals…) for tight-tolerance parts (held on vise or even vacuum clamping). Examples of achievements are the PEEK components of the XGRE detector for TARANIS, the optical mounts for some of the VIRGO mirrors/lens or mechanical pieces for the mechanical structure of the QUBIC instrument. The equipment of the workshop includes:

  • A recent numerical command 3-axis machining center (DMG DMU-70), connected to the University Paris-Diderot computer network to import digital files (drawings) from the design office
  • An old numerical command 3-axis milling machine (Hermlé)
  • Two conventional milling machines
  • A conventional lathe
  • A PC with CATIA V CAD software

To supplement the manufacturing capabilities, there is also a 3D-printing machine (FDM with ABS plastic) bought in 2015 (Stratasys Fortus 250mc) connected to a CAD computer (on the 2nd floor).

In some cases, the workshop could also extend its abilities by using other machines (flow waterjet cutting machine) located in a nearby fablab (15min walking)

In addition to these equipements and the handtools for metrological control usually found in a workshop, parts and assembled sub-systems could have their dimensions/positions checked on a programmable high-precision 3D CMM (coordinate measuring machine) in a dedicated room.

Assembly hall

The Assembly hall, located in the Condorcet-B building ground floor hosts AIT (Assembly, Integration, Tests) activities at APC. Build on a 300 m2 surface, the hall is divided into several areas, separated by grids or removable walls, dedicated to different experiments. A badge system manages the access clearance.

Activities in the hall include test and validation of subsystems (such as photodetectors), high dimension 3D measurement machine (MMT), or complete assembly and test of instrument such as QUBIC.

The hall is equipped with a 4000 kg crane, with a height under hook of 3,4 meters. The access to the internal yard (where deliveries of instruments are made) is made with a 4m-wide sliding door. The ceiling height is at least of 2.75 meters.

Other equipment available are a black box for optical studies, a 10 m3 water tank for testing photodetectors to be operated undersea (neutrino zone), and various handling systems.

Two 25 kW heat exchangers are currently being installed in order to cool down the pulse tubes compressors used in cryogenic systems of experiences such as QUBIC.

A small zone (“atelier de proximité”) is dedicated to small electrical or mechanical works, such as welding of electrical components or drilling.
Space simulator Thermal vacuum enclosure. Equipment used for the vacuum thermal cycling of space components or equipment. Degassing of equipment  
Three-dimensional measuring machine Dimensional control
Spectrograph laboratory This platform is a Spectrographs study, simulation and calibration laboratory dedicated to space projects.