The Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) will be the primary JWST imager in the wavelength range of 0.6 to 5 microns. NIRCam is required by many of the core science goals of JWST, including the detection of the early phases of star and galaxy formation, such as the first precursors to today's globular clusters; morphology and colors of galaxies at very high redshift in rest-frame optical wavelengths; detection of and light curves of distant supernovae; mapping dark matter via gravitational lensing; the study of stellar populations in nearby galaxies; detection, imaging and spectroscopy of protostars, protostellar and protoplanetary disks, and exoplanets. NIRCam is also the instrument used for wavefront sensing to enable control of the alignment and phasing of the primary mirror.
The Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) was built by a team at the University of Arizona (UoA) and Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center, led by Prof. Marcia Rieke at UoA. Its high sensitivity, wavelength multiplexing, and wide field of view enable diffraction-limited imaging and deep imaging surveys.
2015 April 27
NIRCam was successfully reinstalled in the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) on April 8, 2015. Before reintegration, new short-wavelength-channel detectors passed their vibration test and were installed in Module A. Currently, the team is analyzing detector data from Cryo-Vacuum Test 2 (CV2), preparing for ISIM CV3, reviewing Commissioning Activity Requests (CARs), developing the Ops Concept for Long-wavelength Grism exoplanet observations and developing the calibration pipeline concept for grism data. Watch the video of NIRCam being removed from ISIM following CV2 at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
2014 November 14
As part of the JWST Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), NIRCam successfully completed Cryogenic Vacuum Test 2 (CV2) in early October. NIRCam performed as expected, and we obtained the first operational calibration data with the newly installed flight detectors. The detectors show excellent noise and background properties, easily meeting requirements. One detector, A2, was inoperable due to high currents in its electronics. This issue will be debugged during the interval before the next Cryogenic Vacuum Test (CV3), possibly replacing the detector with a backup (also of excellent quality). The team is currently planning for CV3, reviewing activities for in-flight commissioning, and developing the first flight-ready reference files for the calibration pipeline.
2014 July 17
The NIRCam team is currently supporting NIRCam operations as part of the full Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) as it undergoes the Cryo-Vacuum Test 2 (CV2) at Goddard Space Flight Center. The test began in June 2014 and is expected to continue into September. NIRCam has seen "first light" in both the short and long wavelength channels under cryogenic vacuum conditions much like the space environment in which the JWST instruments will operate. All instrument performance is as expected.