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Proceedings Paper

Development of transition edge sensor detectors optimized for single-photon spectroscopy in the optical and near-infrared
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Paper 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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2018
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 10709, High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy VIII, 1070931 (12 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2313730
Show Author Affiliations
Peter C. Nagler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Matthew A Greenhouse, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
S. Harvey Moseley, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Bernard J. Rauscher, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
John E. Sadleir, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10709:
High Energy, Optical, and Infrared Detectors for Astronomy VIII
Andrew D. Holland; James Beletic, Editor(s)

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