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Superconducting Detectors for Optical Astronomy

Seminar Group: 


Professor Ben Mazin


Department of Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara


Friday, November 14, 2014 - 4:00pm


ESB 1001


Professor Ram Seshadri

In the last three years we have made remarkable progress in turning superconducting lumped element microwave resonators into the most powerful UV, optical, and near-IR detectors in the world. In this talk I will describe in detail the operating principles of these detectors, called Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors, and summarize some of the physics and materials challenges we have been working to overcome, and I will describe some of the exciting astronomy that we have done with them. I will finish by discussing future possibilities of the technology, including the real possibility that these detectors will be the first ones to detect life on nearby planets.