The instrumentation development activities of the Astronomy Department at UdeC are based at the Centro Para la Instrumentación Astronómica, CePIA. The center is located in the first floor of the Astronomy building and began operations in mid-2015, after being awarded with a $185M CLP grant from the Conicyt-Quimal initiative. The Project had number 140005 and was titled "Lab outfit and development of millimeter-wave instrumentation capabilities at CePIA". With the fund from this Project, CePIA outfitted the lab with cm-mm-wave instruments oriented to Radio-Astronomy development. In addition, it was proposed to develop a state-of-the-art instrument called Water Vapor Radiometer at 183 GHz, based in HEMT-MMIC technology.
CePIA also managed to raise funds if amount $10M CLP for studies of the distribution of water vapor in the Chajnantor area, which was awarded by the Gemini-Conicyt initiative Nº32140030 and titled"Support for a water vapor radiometry campaign to study the tropospheric vertical profile of the PWV in the Chajnantor area".
Recently, Dec. 2016, CePIA was awarded with a second Conicyt-Quimal Project (Nº160012) titled"Extending development and testing capabilities at CePIA to cryogenic temperatures", for an amount close to $200M CLP. This Project consists in the design and development of a cryogenic chamber to test ultra-sensistive sensors and devices for Radio-Astronomy. This Project has a duration of 2 years, starting from Jan 2017, and the people currently involved in it are Postdoc Arti Rani and Mechanical Engineer Lilian Basoalto.
CePIA also actively participates in the developments for the LLAMA Project (https://www.llamaobservatory.org/). In particular, CePIA managed to position positively to develop and build a device called "Calibration Loads" for the telescope. This Project has been financed by the LLAMA consortium for an amount of $32.000 USD, which is managed by undergrad student of Physical Sciences Ms. Lilian Basoalto.
From the academinc perspective, there are few courses that have been implemented to teach and show instrumentation aspects to undergrad and grad students. Until now, we have managed to put together instrumental experiments to measure the average temperatude of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and also to detect the 21 cm line from hydrogen gas located in our Galaxy.