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12 July 2018 Development of transition edge sensor detectors optimized for single-photon spectroscopy in the optical and near-infrared
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Abstract
The search for biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets will be a key focus of future space telescopes that operate in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared bands. Detection of biosignatures requires an instrument with moderate spectral resolving power (R ∼ 100) and a large bandwidth (∼ 400 nm – ∼ 1.8 μm). Additionally, biosignature detection is a photon-starved science; instruments designed for these measurements would ideally combine high optical efficiency with quantum-limited photon detectors (i.e., detectors that exhibit zero dark current). In this work, we report on our efforts to develop energy resolving transition edge sensor (TES)-based detectors designed for biosignature detection. TESs operated as microcalorimeters are compelling detectors for this application. Unlike semiconductor detectors, TESs eliminate the need for dispersive optics and are truly single photon detectors – fundamental TES noise yields uncertainty in the energies of detected photons, not in the number of detected photons. We introduce TESs designed for this application and discuss the path toward realizing a TES-based dispersionless spectrometer optimized for biosignature detection.
© (2018) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Peter C. Nagler, Matthew A Greenhouse, S. Harvey Moseley, Bernard J. Rauscher, and John E. Sadleir "Development of transition edge sensor detectors optimized for single-photon spectroscopy in the optical and near-infrared", Proc. SPIE 10709, High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy VIII, 1070931 (12 July 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2313730
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