Postgraduate Research

The Millimeter Wave Laboratory offers research topics for Electrical-Engineering PhD and MSc theses in radio-astronomical instrumentation. The topics cover different areas of development of heterodyne receivers. Currently we are involved in the development of instrumentation for several international projects like Band 2+3 ALMA, the LLAMA telescope and pathfinders for CCAT.

Moreover, we maintain our own telescope, the Southern Millimeter-Wave Telescope (SMWT).

We are part of the Postgraduate Program offered by the Electrical Engineering Department of the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences of the Universidad de Chile. For detailed information regarding the application procedure, please visit the following links, and

A (partial) list of postgraduate research topics is presented below. For more information do not hesitate contacting Professor Patricio Mena (, +56-229784888, off. 509 DIE), (Updated August 6, 2014)

1.- Development of new Instrumentation for the SMWT (85-116 GHz). The SMWT is located at the campus of the Astronomy Department (National Astronomical Observatory - Las Condes - Santiago). This telescope has been designed to perform space mapping at specific molecular transitions. In this way, astronomers can determine the regions where more powerful telescopes should observe. To improve its efficiency and make it competitive we have a continuous improvement program. Currently we are working on changing the receiver (keeping it with one pixel but improving its sensitivity) and improving the processing of the received signal (using the latest digital developments). Subsequent efforts include developing a multi-pixel receiver, modifying the optical coupling and optimizing the digital processing.

2.- Development of a Q-band (30-50 GHz) receiver for the radio telescope LLAMA. The LLAMCA project (Latin American Large Millimeter Array) is an initiative between Argentina and Brazil in which the Millimeter Wave Laboratory participates as a consultant and supplier of instrumentation. The purpose of LLAMA is to install a radio telescope, with similar characteristics of the ALMA antennas, in the Argentine Andes and cover the spectrum between 30 and 700 GHz.
This spectrum will be covered with different types of heterodyne and bolometric instrumentation.
The first contribution of our laboratory is the design, fabrication, testing and commissioning of a heterodyne receiver for Band Q.

3.- Development of a receiver for Band 2+3 of ALMA (67-116 GHz). As part of an ongoing improvement plan of the ALMA project, the feasibility of replacing its current bands 2 and 3 with one wide bandwidth receiver is studied. In collaboration with European institutes, the Millimeter Waves Laboratory participates in the development of such receiver. Our specific responsibility will be the development of optics and the integration and testing of the receiver. This unit could also be used in the LLAMA telescope.

4.- Development of Compact devices for radio astronomy in the W band (80-115 GHz). A fundamental part in the development of astronomical receivers is to count with different types of components that can meet the demanding specifications of the scientific community (such as low noise and high bandwidth). Both passive (antennas and polarizers) and active components (amplifiers and mixers) will be developed for the W band. Additionally it is necessary to investigate the possibility of a high level of integration of these components for the development of multipixel receivers.

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Address: Camino El Observatorio # 1515, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.
Postal Cod.: Casilla 36-D.
Telephone: (56-2) 977 1090.
FAX: (56-2) 229 3973.
E-mail: secretaria[at]


Address: Av. Tupper 2007, Santiago Centro, Santiago, Chile.
Telephone: (56-2) 978 4888 - 837 0451.
FAX: (56-2) 695 3881.
E-mail: pmena[at]
E-mail2: emichael[at]