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Proceedings Paper

A near-infrared SETI experiment: instrument overview
Author(s): Shelley A. Wright; Dan Werthimer; Richard R. Treffers; Jérôme Maire; Geoffrey W. Marcy; Remington P. S. Stone; Frank Drake; Elliot Meyer; Patrick Dorval; Andrew Siemion
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Paper Abstract

We are designing and constructing a new SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) instrument to search for direct evidence of interstellar communications via pulsed laser signals at near-infrared wavelengths. The new instrument design builds upon our past optical SETI experiences, and is the first step toward a new, more versatile and sophisticated generation of very fast optical and near-infrared pulse search devices. We present our instrumental design by giving an overview of the opto-mechanical design, detector selection and characterization, signal processing, and integration procedure. This project makes use of near-infrared (950 - 1650 nm) discrete amplification Avalanche Photodiodes (APD) that have > 1 GHz bandwidths with low noise characteristics and moderate gain (~104). We have investigated the use of single versus multiple detectors in our instrument (see Maire et al., this conference), and have optimized the system to have both high sensitivity and low false coincidence rates. Our design is optimized for use behind a 1m telescope and includes an optical camera for acquisition and guiding. A goal is to make our instrument relatively economical and easy to duplicate. We describe our observational setup and our initial search strategies for SETI targets, and for potential interesting compact astrophysical objects.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 July 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 91470J (8 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055616
Show Author Affiliations
Shelley A. Wright, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Dan Werthimer, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Richard R. Treffers, Starman Systems, LLC (United States)
Jérôme Maire, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Geoffrey W. Marcy, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Remington P. S. Stone, Lick Observatory, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Frank Drake, SETI Institute (United States)
Elliot Meyer, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Patrick Dorval, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Andrew Siemion, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9147:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V
Suzanne K. Ramsay; Ian S. McLean; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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