Article

A superconducting focal plane array for ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared astrophysics.

Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA.
Optics Express (Impact Factor: 3.55). 01/2012; 20(2):1503-11. DOI: 10.1364/OE.20.001503
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors, or MKIDs, have proven to be a powerful cryogenic detector technology due to their sensitivity and the ease with which they can be multiplexed into large arrays. A MKID is an energy sensor based on a photon-variable superconducting inductance in a lithographed microresonator, and is capable of functioning as a photon detector across the electromagnetic spectrum as well as a particle detector. Here we describe the first successful effort to create a photon-counting, energy-resolving ultraviolet, optical, and near infrared MKID focal plane array. These new Optical Lumped Element (OLE) MKID arrays have significant advantages over semiconductor detectors like charge coupled devices (CCDs). They can count individual photons with essentially no false counts and determine the energy and arrival time of every photon with good quantum efficiency. Their physical pixel size and maximum count rate is well matched with large telescopes. These capabilities enable powerful new astrophysical instruments usable from the ground and space. MKIDs could eventually supplant semiconductor detectors for most astronomical instrumentation, and will be useful for other disciplines such as quantum optics and biological imaging.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
138 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present the design, construction, and commissioning results of ARCONS, the Array Camera for Optical to Near-IR Spectrophotometry. ARCONS is the first ground-based instrument in the optical through near-IR wavelength range based on Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs). MKIDs are revolutionary cryogenic detectors, capable of detecting single photons and measuring their energy without filters or gratings, similar to an X-ray microcalorimeter. MKIDs are nearly ideal, noiseless photon detectors, as they do not suffer from read noise or dark current and have nearly perfect cosmic ray rejection. ARCONS is an Integral Field Spectrograph (IFS) containing a lens-coupled 2024 pixel MKID array yielding a 20"x20" field of view, and has been deployed on the Palomar 200" and Lick 120" telescopes for 24 nights of observing. We present initial results showing that ARCONS and its MKID arrays are now a fully operational and powerful tool for astronomical observations.
    Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 06/2013; · 3.69 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We demonstrate single-photon counting at 1550nm with titanium-nitride (TiN) microwave kinetic inductance detectors. Full-width-at-half-maximum energy resolution of 0.4 eV is achieved. 0-, 1-, 2-photon events are resolved and shown to follow Poisson statistics. We find that the temperature-dependent frequency shift deviates from the Mattis-Bardeen theory, and the dissipation response shows a shorter decay time than the frequency response at low temperatures. We suggest that the observed anomalous electrodynamics may be related to quasiparticle traps or subgap states in the disordered TiN films. Finally, the electron density-of-states is derived from the pulse response
    Applied Physics Letters 10/2012; 101. · 3.79 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Superconducting resonators have to date been used for photon detection in a non-equilibrium manner. In this paper, we demonstrate that such devices can also be used in a thermal quasi-equilibrium manner to detect X-ray photons. We have used a resonator to measure the temperature rise induced by an X-ray photon absorbed in normal metal and superconducting absorbers on continuous and perforated silicon nitride membranes. We observed two distinct pulses with vastly different decay times. We attribute the shorter pulses to non-equilibrium quasiparticle relaxation and the longer pulses to a thermal relaxation process. In addition, we have measured the temperature dependence of the X-ray induced temperature rise and decay times. Finally, we have measured the resonator sensitivity and energy resolution. Superconducting resonators used in a thermal quasi-equilibrium manner have the potential to be used for X-ray microcalorimetry.
    Superconductor Science and Technology 04/2013; 26(10). · 2.76 Impact Factor

Full-text

View
4 Downloads
Available from