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3rd August – DIAS to Develop Revolutionary New Detector for Astronomy

A Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKID) similar to the devices that will be developed in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Image courtesy of Ben Mazin and Spencer Bruttig, University of California, Santa Barbara

With funding from Science Foundation Ireland, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies is developing a new type of detector that will enormously enhance our ability to study the most distant galaxies in the Universe as well as star and planet formation in our own Milky Way. Known as Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs), individual pixels are super-cooled to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero and can detect not only the intensity of photons arriving from distant objects but also their colour and time of arrival to within a fraction of a millisecond. Data rates from these detectors are so high that the project will use read-out electronics, developed for the giant radio telescope known as the Square Kilometre Array, to collect results. This project is in collaboration with the University of Oxford, the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), Trinity College Dublin and Maynooth University. It will be led by Professor Tom Ray from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

SFI Press Release