Gordon J. Stacey

Professor, CCAT Project Director


Stacey received his PhD from Cornell University in 1985 under the mentorship of Martin Harwit. He held a post-doctoral position at UC Berkeley under the mentorship of Charles Townes and Reinhard Genzel before returning to join the Cornell faculty in 1991.  His research specialty is star and galaxy formation over cosmic time, often enabled by instrumentation that his group has built.

Research Focus

Stacey’s research interests center on studies of star formation and its interplay with the interstellar medium across cosmic time with a focus on far-infrared and submillimeter wavelength spectroscopy.  These lines provide important, and often dominant coolants for the interstellar medium, and therefore trace the properties of the sources of heat, be it stellar radiation fields, interstellar shocks or radiation from active galactic nuclei.  To pursue this science, Stacey’s group has built several generations of far-IR and submillimeter wave spectrometers that were deployed on a variety of leading airborne and ground-based facilities.  Supporting and related studies include work with facilities including the Spitzer and Herschel Space Observatories, the SOFIA airborne telescope, the IRAM 30 m telescope, the PdBI/NOEMA and  ALMA arrays and JWST.

Stacey is CCAT Project Director. The CCAT Project is an international collaboration of research institutions, led by Cornell that have come together with common science goals that are enabled by a telescope optimized for wide-field mapping speed in the submillimeter to millimeter wave spectral bands.  Our telescope, the Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope (FYST) is a 6-m class wide-field submillimeter telescope being constructed at a 5600 m elevation site near the summit of Cerro Chajnantor in northern Chile.  The CCAT Project includes FYST, its associated instrumentation and support facilities.  Expected first light with FYST is the second quarter of 2025.

Stacey's group is building the "Epoch-of-Reionization Spectrometer"(EoR-Spec), a spectroscopic instrument module for Prime-Cam on FYST.  Each EoR-Spec module surveys a 1.3 deg field of view with an array that contains ~ 6000 kinetic inductance detectors.  With a spectral resolving power of R∼100, and a frequency coverage of 210 to 420 GHz EoR-Spec is optimized for line intensity mapping of the red-shifted [CII] 158 μm fine structure line at redshifts between 8 and 3.5, corresponding to the end of epoch of reionization to the beginning of Cosmic Noon. EoR-Spec is scheduled for first light in 2026 on FYST. 

His group also continues to operate the ZEUS-2 submillimeter spectrometer we built for use on the APEX telescope in northern Chile.  The primary focus of ZEUS-2 is investigating star formation in galaxies at redshifts between 1 and 5 by detecting their far-IR fine structure line emission. These observations are enhanced by complementary studies with other facilities.

His group continues to be involved in technological development.  Most recently they have demonstrated a new technology for far-infrared spectroscopy – the Virtually Imaged Phased Array (VIPA) – for direct detection at very high resolving powers. This VIPA device promises very high sensitivity for tomographic studies of the assembly of the building blocks of planets in protoplanetary disks.  Stacey is the PI on proposed missions for balloon-borne and space-based spectrometers focused on such work that will take advantage of this development.


  • “158 mm [CII] Line:  A Measure of Global Starformation Activity in Galaxies", G. J. Stacey, N. Geis, R. Genzel, J. B. Lugten, A. Poglitsch, A. Sternberg, & C. H. Townes, Ap. J., 373, 423 (1991).
  • “Detection of the 205 mm [NII] Line from the Carina Nebula”  T.E. Oberst, S.C. Parshley, G.J. Stacey, T. Nikola, A Löhr, J.I. Harnett, N.F.H. Tothill, A.P. Lane, A.A. Stark, & C.E. Tucker (2006) ApJ 625, L125
  •  “Detection of the 13CO J=6-->5 transition in the Starburst Galaxy NGC 253”, Hailey-Dunsheath, S.; Nikola, T.; Stacey, G. J.; Oberst, T. E.; Parshley, S. C.; Bradford, C. M.; Ade, P. A. R.; Tucker, C. E., ApJ 689, L109 (2008).
  • “First Detection of the [OIII] 88 mm Line at High Redshifts:  Characterizing the Starburst and Narrow Line Regions in Extreme Luminosity Systems”, C. Ferkinhoff, S. Hailey-Dunsheath , T. Nikola, S.C. Parshley, G.J. Stacey, D. J. Benford, & J. G.Staguhn, ApJ, 714, L147 (2010)
  • “Detection of the 158 μm [CII] Transition at z = 1.3: Evidence for a Galaxy-Wide Starburst”,  Hailey-Dunsheath, S., Nikola, T., Stacey, G.J.,  Oberst, T.E.,  Parshley, S.C., Benford, D.J., Staguhn, J.G., & Tucker, C.E.,  ApJ., 714, L162 (2010)
  • “The Energetics of Molecular Gas in NGC 891 from H2 and FIR Spectroscopy”  Stacey, G.J., Charmandaris, V., Boulanger, F., Wu, Yanling, Combes, F., Higdon, S.J.U., Smith, J.D.T., & Nikola, T. ApJ 721, 59 (2010)
  • “A 158 Micron [CII] Line Survey of Galaxies at z ~ 1 to 2: An Indicator of Star Formation in the Early Universe”. G.J. Stacey, C. Ferkinhoff, S. Hailey-Dunsheath , T. Nikola,  S.C. Parshley,  D. J. Benford, J. G. Staguhn, & N., Fiolet, ApJ 724, 957 (2010)
  •  “First detections of the [NII] 122 µm line at z>0.04: Demonstrating the utility of the line for studying galaxies at high redshift”, Carl Ferkinhoff, D. Brisbin, Thomas Nikola, Stephen C. Parshley, Gordon J Stacey, Thomas Phillips, Edith Falgarone, Dominic Benford, Johannes Staguhn, and Carol E. Tucker, ApJ, 740, L29 (2011).
  • “Mid-J CO Emission From NGC 891: Micro-turbulent Molecular Shocks in Normal Star Forming Galaxies”, T. Nikola, G. J. Stacey, D. Brisbin, C. Ferkinhof, S. Hailey-Dunsheath, S. Parshley, & C.E.Tucker, ApJ 742, 88 (2011)
  •  “Strong C+ emission in galaxies at z~1-2:  Evidence for cold flow accretion powered star formation in the early Universe”,  Brisbin, D., Ferkinhoff, C., Nikola, T., Parshley, S., Stacey, G.J., Spoon, H., Hailey-Dunsheath, S., & Verma, A. ApJ 799, 13B (2015)
  • “Band-9 ALMA observations of the [NII] 122 µm line and FIR continuum in two high z galaxies”, Ferkinhoff, C.; Brisbin, D.; Nikola, T.; Stacey, G.J.; Sheth, K.; Hailey-Dunsheath, S.; & Falgarone, E. to appear in ApJ (2015).
  • “Detection of [O III] at z ∼ 3: A Galaxy Above the Main Sequence, Rapidly Assembling Its Stellar Mass”, Vishwas, Amit, Ferkinhoff, Carl, Nikoa, Thomas, Parshley, S.C., Schoenwald, J.P., Stacey, G.J., Higdon, S.J.U., Higdon, J.L., Weiss, A., Guesten, R, and Menton, K.M. ApJ 856, 174V (2018).
    • “CO and Fine-structure Lines Reveal Low Metallicity in a Stellar-mass-rich Galaxy at z ∼ 1?”, Lamarche, C., Stacey, G.J., Vishwas, A., Brisbin, D., Ferkinhoff, C. Nikola, T., Higdon, S.J.U, and Higdon, J. ApJ 882, 1L (2019)
    • “Far-Infrared Line Diagnostics: Improving N/O Abundance Estimates for Dusty Galaxies” Peng, B., Lamarche, C., Stacey, G.J., Nikola, T., Vishwas, A., Ferkinhoff, C., Rooney, C., Ball, C., Birsbin, D., Higdon, J., and Higdon, S.J.U. ApJ 908, 166P (2021)
    • “Discovery of a Dusty, Chemically Mature Companion to a z = 4 Starburst Galaxy in JWST ERS Data” Peng, B., Vishwas, A., Stacey, G., Nikola, T., Lamarche, C., Rooney, C., Ball, C., Ferkinhoff, C., and Spoon, H. ApJ 944L, 36P (2023)

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