Thursday, January 30th, 11 am, Elings 1605
NASA’s trend toward less costly missions has created a need for smaller and more capable instruments for in situ planetary applications, space weather, and Earth Observations. The rise of cubesats has created a new powerful platform that if enabled with powerful sensing technology can be an instrument of discovery. At the same time, large aperture UV/visible/Near Infrared space telescope are being planned for cosmology and astrophysics studies that will need high performance yet affordable detectors to populate their very large focal plane arrays. In nearly all these facets of space exploration, there is a strong need for high signal to noise ultraviolet detection technology. This is due to the fact that the ultraviolet part of the spectrum is rich in spectral information that are key to study exo-solar planets, protoplanets, intergalactic medium, supernovae, electromagnetic counterpart of gravitational wave, star formation, galaxy evolution, and more. Semiconductor detectors offer a rich spectral range, tailorable spectral response, high resolution, and sensitivity; however, these capabilities are not available in a single material or class of material. For example, while silicon imagers have reached high performance levels in format, pixel size, and signal to noise, they are naturally insensitive to ultraviolet light. Using non-equilibrium processes, we can manipulate materials at nanometer scale, form unusual and quantum structures, and alter bandstructures. Through nanoscale surface and interface engineering of 2D doping (superlattice doping and delta doping) high performance silicon-based imagers are produced with record high quantum efficiency in the ultraviolet. Furthermore, the response of silicon imagers can be tailored for out of band rejection through nano-scale interface engineering. In this talk we will discuss the underlying physics of the ultraviolet silicon detectors, their performance, their integration in systems, and their application in cubesats and space flagship missions. We will also discuss the synergy between the requirements for instruments in NASA space applications and medical applications and show how space technologies can and have been used for medical applications.