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Cryogenic IR/Optical/UV Fast Spectrophotometers for the Study of Time-Variable Astronomical Sources



Aaron J. Miller, B. Cabrera, R. W. Romani, John M. Martinis, Sae Woo Nam, David M. Weld, J. P. Castle


Our detectors are superconducting Transition-Edge Sensors that have been designed for photon counting in the energy (wavelength) range of 0.5 eV (2.5 micrometers) to 10 eV (124 nm). Our design consists of a 6 x 6 array of 20 micrometers by 20 micrometers pixels, of which four were operated simultaneously at count rates exceeding 30 K-counts/pixel. Each photon is time-tagged to 0.4 microsecond(s) using a GPS signal processor, and the energy is determined to approximately 0.15 eV FWHM. These results are the best achieved for an energy dispersive spectrometer in the optical range. We discuss the detector design and operation, optical coupling, and high-rate data acquisition system. In addition, we discuss the next step towards detectors with improved light collection and higher energy resolution. We also present recent results from latest application of our fast spectrophotometers to the study of highly time-variable sources using the 2.7 m telescope at the McDonald Observatory.
Proceedings Title
Proc., SPIE
Conference Dates
August 1-4, 2000
Conference Location
San Diego, CA, USA
Conference Title
Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing VIII


Miller, A. , Cabrera, B. , Romani, R. , Martinis, J. , Nam, S. , Weld, D. and Castle, J. (2000), Cryogenic IR/Optical/UV Fast Spectrophotometers for the Study of Time-Variable Astronomical Sources, Proc., SPIE, San Diego, CA, USA (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created October 31, 2000, Updated October 12, 2021