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The IRCAM Revolution

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Thirty Years of Astronomical Discovery with UKIRT

Part of the book series: Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings ((ASSSP,volume 37))

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The advent of infrared “array” detectors in the mid-1980s completely changed the way infrared astronomy was done. The UK Infrared Telescope and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh played significant roles in this revolutionary development. From 1984 to 1986, I was involved in the development of IRCAM, the first common-user infrared camera for the 1–5 μm region to use a solid-state imaging device developed specifically for ground-based astronomy. Although that first 58 × 62 pixel array is small by today’s standards, that remarkable little device, and its exploitation on the 3.8 m telescope, opened the flood gates and resulted in exponential growth for infrared astronomy. This article recounts some of the story behind the development and deployment of IRCAM.

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It is a pleasure to acknowledge Tim Chuter and the entire IRCAM team at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and at UKIRT, as well as Mark McCaughrean and John Rayner. The IRCAM revolution could never have happened without this wonderful team. It is also a pleasure to acknowledge the late Donald Pettie for his personal support and encouragement.

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Correspondence to Ian S. McLean .

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© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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McLean, I.S. (2013). The IRCAM Revolution. In: Adamson, A., Davies, J., Robson, I. (eds) Thirty Years of Astronomical Discovery with UKIRT. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings, vol 37. Springer, Dordrecht.

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