A research group of the Microtechnology Centre at Chalmers, MC2, at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, has developed an ultra-sensitive device for detecting the presence of organic molecules present in space. Organic material as far away from us as many thousands of light years can be discovered this way. The sensor, which has a world record for sensing low amounts of heat, will be a vital part in satellite systems for the Herschel Mission, a remote sensing satellite project at the European Space Agency planned for launching in 2007.
The new device makes use of a so called “hot electron bolometer”, sensitive for radiation from very small heat sources, occuring when molecules vibrate and rotate. The frequencies of this radiation are between those of heat and those of radiowaves. While standard “HF” radiowaves have frequencies in the region of millions of Hertz, this radiation is found at thousands of billions of Hertz. The heat waves appearing from molecules far out in the Universe create “heated” electrons in an antenna which are transferred to a piece of superconducting material with a thickness of 3 and a length of 150 nanometers. This makes the superconducting material change into a normal conductor, giving rise to a dramatic change in electrical resistance which can be detected by an electronic amplifier. All parts of the system have extreme electrical properties from the points of view of sensitivity and noise. The ingredients, detector and amplifier give a maximum resolution power to squeeze information out of any molecular heat spectra.
The bolometric detector device is made of an ultrathin layer of niobiumnitride, a material that is superconducting at temperatures below -263C. With its extremely small dimensions, more than thousand detectors would fit in a cross section of a human hair.
The new device will be presented at the Hannover Fair, April 15 – 20 this year, by the Microtechnology Centre at Chalmers, MC2.
Jorun Fahle | alphagalileo
Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences