CosmoNanoscience

Superconductivity and Photons

The group CosmoNanoscience is actively transforming the current frontier of nanoscience towards new discoveries in astronomy and cosmology. The rapid progress in nanoscience leads to capabilities for observational instruments, which were impossible 20 years ago.

In particular one of the poorly studied range of frequencies is the submillimeter, also called the far-infrared or THz part of the spectrum. This range is currently being opened, by developing superconducting devices, which has been crucial for the Herschel Space Observatory as well as for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. Both of these observatories are now capable of determining the molecular composition of various star-forming regions in our galaxy and are actively used by thousands of astronomers, only possible because of superconductivity.

In a dialogue with the astronomical community it has become clear that it is now also becoming possible to probe very deep into the history of the universe. One needs wide field telescopes, equipped with sensitive superconductivity-based cameras to study the galaxies formed shortly after the initial matter-formation occurred. It has also become clear that it is even possible to remove many of the optical components needed to spectrally separate the incoming light by an on-chip spectrometer, which leads to the concept of dedicated chips for different astronomical goals.

The research is carried out in collaboration with the Sterrewacht at the University of Leiden and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON). And of course we benefit from the range of expertise within the Quantum Nanoscience department, within the Kavli Institute of Nanoscinece at TU Delft.

The international strength of our group is that we combine a thorough understanding of nanoscience, continuously contributing to fundamental physics, with a willingness to embark on intensive collaborations towards a real instrument. With the latter aim in mind our group is becoming more and more interdisciplinary with people trained in astronomy, microwave engineering and condensed matter physics.  

(Left) The Rosette molecular cloud observed in submillimeter waves (credit: ESA). (Middle) A post-doc of the NF group at the APEX sub-mm telescope in Chile. (Right) Microwave kinetic inductance detector array.

Naam auteur: office NF
© 2014 TU Delft

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