Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies contact@dias.ie 00353 (0) 16140100

2019-03-13, 11:00: Dr. Pieter de Visser (SRON, Netherlands)

Dr. Pieter de Visser

SRON, Netherlands

Photon-counting energy-resolving MKID detectors for visible/near-infrared astronomy.


Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) are photon-counting superconducting detectors which provide energy resolution in each pixel. One photon can generate a few thousand of excitations in the superconductor. When a photon is absorbed, the detector therefore generates a pulse, the height of which is a measure for the photon energy. Therefore MKIDs do not suffer from dark current and provide energy resolving power. A photon-counting detector would be a solution to the problem of making a spectrum of directly-imaged exoplanets. After star-light nulling these sources provide less than one photon per second, which needs to be divided over spectral bins. This is the main motivation for SRON to invest in MKID technology for this purpose, although also for wavefront correction and for e.g. single-molecule biophysics MKIDs are ideal detectors.

I will introduce the working principle of MKIDs and give insight in the detector physics we are working on to improve the energy resolution of MKIDs. Where other groups mainly focus on array development, my aim is to also unravel and try to achieve the fundamental performance limits. I will show our recent developments and state-of-art energy-resolution measurements.

At SRON we are also developing MKIDs for very sensitive terahertz measurements as well as for on-chip terahertz spectroscopy. The latter technology recently saw first light at the telescope. I will give a brief overview of those strongly related developments and how we benefit from those for the photon-counting visible/NIR detectors.

Location: 31 Fitzwilliam Place

Upcoming seminars:

https://www.dias.ie/2018/10/23/astronomy-and-astrophysics-seminar-schedule-2019/(opens in a new tab)