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Large Millimeter Telescope

Large dish is on top of a mountain with clouds at the same level.
Large Millimeter Telescope
Credit: Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica and Electronica (INAOE)

Telescope Details



Sierra Negra, Mexico


TolTEC will study the universe on nearly all scales, from large-scale structure of matter in the early universe to individual cores of star formation. 

NIST’s role:

Led development of the TolTEC camera, which offers high sensitivity and mapping speeds in three colors. The use of multiple colors helps distinguish real signals from interfering noise. 

Significant discoveries:

TolTEC installation was delayed due to the pandemic, but pieces are now being sent to the site. 

Other interesting facts:

TolTEC is projected to offer 100 times the mapping speed of its predecessor camera. The telescope is situated on a mountain peak at an elevation of 4,572 meters (15,000 feet), providing excellent observing conditions.

Supported by:

National Science Foundation

Developed by:

A collaboration of seven institutions in three countries: NIST, Arizona State University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, Cardiff University, the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, and Óptica y Electrónica

Operated by:

Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica and University of Massachusetts at Amherst


Gold-colored device has circular opening and attachments on one side.
4,000-channel array of NIST’s kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs) 
Credit: NIST
Created September 30, 2021, Updated November 3, 2021