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The Planck science payload consists of two instruments that are designed to study the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation field by making high sensitivity measurements in the frequency range 27 GHz to 1 THz, and a telescope that collects the microwave radiation and focuses it onto the instrument detector arrays.

Planck's primary science objectives are to:

  • Map Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies
  • Test inflationary models of the early universe
  • Measure the amplitude of structures in the Cosmic Microwave Background
  • Perform measurements of the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect

Planck has the ability to:

  • Detect much smaller temperature variations in the CMB than previous missions
  • Perform CMB measurements with a higher angular resolution than ever before
  • Measure over a wider band of frequencies to enhance the separation of the CMB from interfering foreground signals

The CMB anisotropy map produced using Plank's observations will be markedly superior to those currently available and will be used to set constraints on the values of the main parameters that govern the large scale structure of the Universe.

The instruments and telescope are provided by collaborative efforts between scientific institutes in ESA member states and the USA. Principal investigators in different countries lead the nationally funded collaborations.

Planck Instruments

Instrument Name

Instrument Description

Principal Investigator (PI)

Deputy PI

Low Frequency Instrument (LFI)

High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT) radio receiver array

Nazzareno  Mandolesi, Istituto di Tecnologie e Studio delle Radiazioni Extraterrestri, (Bologna, Italy)

Marco Bersanelli,
Universita' degli Studi di Milano (Milan, Italy)

High Frequency Instrument (HFI)

Bolometric detector array

Jean-Loup Puget, Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale,  (Orsay, France)

François Bouchet,
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (Paris, France)


Off-axis tilted Gregorian telescope with baffling system

Hans-Ulrik Norgaard Nielsen, Danish Space Research Institute, (Copenhagen, Denmark)



Last Update: 11 July 2012

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