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 PCOS/COR Technology Development







Astrophysics Program Offices

Technology Gallery

2019

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Slide 1 of 32

PCOS and COR Strategic Technology Portfolio


For more information about these technologies visit our Technology Database.

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Slide 2 of 32

Technology Development Module with a pair of parabolic-hyperbolic X-ray mirror segments


Significance: World-class thin grazing-angle X-ray mirror technology; baselined for Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: Next Generation X-ray Optics: High Resolution, Light Weight, and Low Cost

PI: Zhang, William (GSFC)

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slide photo
Slide 3 of 32

150-mm X-ray grating wafer patterned with nine samples of experimental Level-2 backside structures


Significance: Highest-resolution X-ray transmission grating technology; baselined for Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: High Resolution and High Efficiency X-ray Transmission Grating Spectrometer

PI: Mark Schattenburg (MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research)

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Slide 4 of 32

30/40-GHz bowtie planar antenna design for Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) polarimetry


Significance: CMB polarimetry is crucial for identifying echoes of the Big Bang

Project Title: Superconducting Detectors for Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Polarimetry in PICO

PI: Roger O’Brient (JPL/Caltech)

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slide photo
Slide 5 of 32

25-pixel Hydra readout before absorber deposition for X-ray microcalorimeters


Significance:Transition-Edge Sensor (TES) superconducting microcalorimeters offer energy resolution that enables the European Space Agency (ESA) ATHENA X-ray observatory, and may enable future missions such as the Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Microcalorimeters: TES Microcalorimeters

PI: Caroline Kilbourne (GSFC)

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slide photo
Slide 6 of 32

Gold:Erbium (Au:Er) “waffle” sensor targeting Lynx main array requirements


Significance: Magnetically-Coupled Microcalorimeters (MMCs) offer energy resolution that may enable future X-ray missions such as the Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: MMC Arrays for X-ray Astrophysics

PI: Simon Bandler (GSFC)

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Slide 7 of 32

Deterministic polishing of X-ray optics mandrel in Zeeko machine


Significance: High-quality X-ray optics may enable or enhance future Astrophysics missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Computer-Controlled Polishing of High-Quality Mandrels

PI: Jacqueline Davis (MSFC)

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Slide 8 of 32

Custom coating mask with varying holes corrects entire X-ray optic in one exposure


Significance: High-quality X-ray optics may enable or enhance future Astrophysics missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Differential Deposition for Figure Correction in X-Ray Optics

PI: Kiranmayee Kilaru (MSFC)

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Slide 9 of 32

Support structure for X-ray mirror shell


Significance: High-quality X-ray optics may enable future X-ray missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Full-Shell Direct Polishing

PI: Stephen Bongiorno (MSFC)

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slide photo
Slide 10 of 32

Marshall Grazing Incidence X-ray Spectrometer (MaGIXS) grating coate


Significance: High-quality X-ray optics such as gratings enable future missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Mirror Coatings

PI: David Broadway (MSFC)

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Slide 11 of 32

Innovative methods of fabricating lightweight, high-resolution, low-cost space-borne optics, e.g. using polyimide aerogel


Significance: Low-cost, lightweight, high-quality X-ray optics may enable many future missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Hybrid X-Ray Optics by Additive Manufacturing

PI: David Broadway (MSFC)

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slide photo
Slide 12 of 32

Adjustable X-ray mirror sample, with front reflective surface shown on left, and electrode control side on right


Significance: Adjustable X-ray optics are a backup technology for the Lynx X-ray large mission concept

Project Title: Adjustable X-Ray Optics

PI: Paul Reid (SAO)

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Slide 13 of 32

0.5-megapixel X-ray CCDs, front-illuminated (left) and back-illuminated (right); back-illuminated offers better low-energy response


Significance: Advanced X-ray detectors may enable the Lynx large mission concept

Project Title: Toward Fast, Low-Noise, Radiation Tolerant X-ray Imaging Arrays for Lynx: Raising Technology Readiness Further

PI: Mark Bautz (MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research)

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Slide 14 of 32

Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD) window replaced with 2-µm-thick nitrocellulose membrane


Significance: Replacing windows of commercially available DMDs may enable far-UV multi-object spectrometry in future missions

Project Title: Development of DMDs for Far-UV Applications

PI: Zoran Ninkov (RIT)

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Slide 15 of 32

µMUX/SMuRF readout deployed on Keck telescope at South Pole


Significance: High-density readout may enable large focal planes in future space missions

Project Title: Advancing High-Density Readout Technology for Superconducting Sensor Arrays for Spaceflight

PI: Josef Frisch (SLAC)

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Slide 16 of 32

Sample electronics box with Transition Edge Sensor (TES) microcalorimeter detectors, microwave multiplexers, and support electronics


Significance: High-multiplexing-factor readouts may enable missions such as Lynx

Project Title: Technology development for Microwave Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) multiplexing for the Lynx X-ray Observatory

PI: Douglas Bennett (NIST)

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Slide 17 of 32

Active gasp-gap heat switches used in continuous adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (CADR) cooling system


Significance: This advanced sub-Kelvin cooling technology has been baselined by Lynx, Origins, PICO, and GEP

Project Title: High-Efficiency Continuous Cooling for Cryogenic Instruments and sub-Kelvin Detectors

PI: James Tuttle (GSFC)

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Slide 18 of 32

Through-wafer via allowing connection of 2D superconducting detectors to cold readout electronics


Significance: This new technique may enable the Origins large mission concept

Project Title: Development of a Robust, Efficient Process to Produce Scalable, Superconducting Kilopixel Far-IR Detector Arrays

PI: Johannes Staguhn (JHU & GSFC)

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Slide 19 of 32

100-mm convex SISTINE secondary mirror over-coated at JPL


Significance: May enable or enhance future far-UV missions

Project Title: High-Performance, Stable, and Scalable UV Aluminum Mirror Coatings Using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

PI: John Hennessy (JPL)

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Slide 20 of 32

Large Area Plasma Processing System (LAPPS) reactor at NRL, used for removing oxidation from aluminum optics prior to coating


Significance: High far-UV reflectance is prevented by oxidation of aluminum mirrors; removing it may enable future far-UV missions

Project Title: E-Beam-Generated Plasma Etching for Developing High-Reflectance Mirrors for Far-UV Astronomical Instrument Applications

PI: Manuel Quijada (GSFC)

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Slide 21 of 32

Buttressed (top) and unbuttressed Transition-Edge-Sensor (TES) bolometer devices


Significance: Extremely sensitive far-IR detectors may enable future missions

Project Title: Ultra-Sensitive Bolometers for Far-IR Space Spectroscopy at the Background Limit

PI: C. Matt Bradford (JPL

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Slide 22 of 32

1.9-THz 4-pixel frequency-multiplied chain for Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory 2 (STO-2, launched Dec 2016)


Significance: Further development of this high-resolution far-IR detector technology to higher pixel numbers may enable or enhance future missions

Project Title: Development of High-Resolution Far-IR Arrays

PI: Imran Mehdi (JPL)

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Slide 23 of 32

Harris 1.5-m ULE® Advanced Mirror Technology Development (AMTD) mirror


Significance: This technology may enable required ultra-stability (~10 pm) for HabEx and LUVOIR missions

Project Title: : Predictive Thermal Control (PTC) Technology to enable Thermally Stable Telescopes

PI: H. Philip Stahl (MSFC)

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Slide 24 of 32

Curved grooves with 4° blaze ruled on flat grating (top) with EUV measurement (bottom)


Significance: May enable future UV/optical spectroscopic missions; enables current UV suborbital missions

Project Title: Electron-Beam-Lithography Ruled Gratings for Future UV/Optical Missions: High Efficiency and Low Scatter in the Vacuum UV

PI: Brian Fleming (U. of Colorado)

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Slide 25 of 32

Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) amplifier for 100-mK test


Significance: May enable future Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) missions, e.g. LiteBIRD

Project Title: Technology Development for LiteBIRD and other CMB Missions

PI: Adrian T. Lee (UC Berkeley)

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Slide 26 of 32

Substrates with light shields for next-generation electrostatically activated microshutter arrays


Significance: May enable sparse-field multi-object spectroscopy for e.g. LUVOIR, HabEx, CETUS, and/or AERIE

Project Title: Scalable Microshutter Systems for UV, Visible, and IR Spectrosco

PI: Matt Greenhouse (GSFC)

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Slide 27 of 32

Planacon 50-mm detector with sapphire input window, bialkali cathode, and pair of 54-mm, 20-µm-pore ALD borosilicate Multi-Channel Plates (MCP)


Significance: Baselined by HabEx, LUVOIR, and CETUS for UV/Visible light detection

Project Title: High-Performance Sealed-Tube Cross-Strip (XS) Photon-Counting Sensors for UV-Vis Astrophysics Instruments

PI: Oswald Siegmund (UC Berkeley)

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Slide 28 of 32

Portable X-ray Spectrometer/Electron Beam Ion Trap (XRS/EBIT) for specialized experiments


Significance:Supports NASA X-ray observatories by developing similar instruments in ground-based labs, replicating conditions in astrophysical sources observed by spaceflight instruments, and observing them parametrically to help interpret space-based data

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Microcalorimeters: Lab Spectroscopy for Space Atomic Physics

PI: F. Scott Porter (GSFC)

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Slide 29 of 32

Radiation-testing Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) coatings


Significance: Detectors baselined by SHIELDS, HabEx, LUVOIR, and ground facilities are fabricated using ALD coatings

Project Title: Advanced FUV/UV/Visible Photon-Counting and Ultralow-Noise Detectors

PI: Shouleh Nikzad (JPL/Caltech)

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slide image
Slide 30 of 32

2×2 array of Timepix readout chips for Multi-Channel Plate detectors


Significance: Four-side-buttable low-power readout chips may enable future far-UV missions with large focal planes

Project Title: Large-Format, High-Dynamic-Range UV detector using Multi-Channel Plates (MCPs) and Timepix4 readouts

PI: John Vallerga (UC Berkeley)

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Slide 31 of 32

Chip carrier with printed circuit board for wiring (left), and die of 20 DFB devices indium die-bonded to copper chip carrier (right)


Significance: This technology provides 4.7-THz local oscillators (LOs), enabling far-IR/sub-mm missions such as the balloon-borne Galactic/Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory (GUSTO)

Project Title: Raising the Technology Readiness of 4.7-THz local oscillators

PI: Qing Hu (MIT)

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Slide 32 of 32

UHV system built at ASU for fluoride Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition (PEALD) mirror coatings


Significance: High-reflectance UV coatings would vastly improve system throughput for photon-starved UV astronomy; this system attempted to develop advanced technique for depositing high-reflectance UV coatings

Project Title: Improving UV Coatings and Filters using Innovative Materials Deposited by ALD

PI: Paul Scowen (ASU)

slide image
PCOS and COR Strategic Technology Portfolio

PCOS and COR Strategic Technology Portfolio


For more information about these technologies visit our Technology Database.




slide image

Technology Development Module with a pair of parabolic-hyperbolic X-ray mirror segments


Significance: World-class thin grazing-angle X-ray mirror technology; baselined for Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: Next Generation X-ray Optics: High Resolution, Light Weight, and Low Cost

PI: Zhang, William (GSFC)




slide image

150-mm X-ray grating wafer patterned with nine samples of experimental Level-2 backside structures


Significance: Highest-resolution X-ray transmission grating technology; baselined for Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: High Resolution and High Efficiency X-ray Transmission Grating Spectrometer

PI: Mark Schattenburg (MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research)




slide image

30/40-GHz bowtie planar antenna design for Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) polarimetry


Significance: CMB polarimetry is crucial for identifying echoes of the Big Bang

Project Title: Superconducting Detectors for Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Polarimetry in PICO

PI: Roger O’Brient (JPL/Caltech)




slide image

25-pixel Hydra readout before absorber deposition for X-ray microcalorimeters


Significance:Transition-Edge Sensor (TES) superconducting microcalorimeters offer energy resolution that enables the European Space Agency (ESA) ATHENA X-ray observatory, and may enable future missions such as the Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Microcalorimeters: TES Microcalorimeters

PI: Caroline Kilbourne (GSFC)




slide image

Gold:Erbium (Au:Er) “waffle” sensor targeting Lynx main array requirements


Significance: Magnetically-Coupled Microcalorimeters (MMCs) offer energy resolution that may enable future X-ray missions such as the Lynx X-ray flagship mission concept

Project Title: MMC Arrays for X-ray Astrophysics

PI: Simon Bandler (GSFC)




slide image

Deterministic polishing of X-ray optics mandrel in Zeeko machine


Significance: High-quality X-ray optics may enable or enhance future Astrophysics missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Computer-Controlled Polishing of High-Quality Mandrels

PI: Jacqueline Davis (MSFC)




slide image

Custom coating mask with varying holes corrects entire X-ray optic in one exposure


Significance: High-quality X-ray optics may enable or enhance future Astrophysics missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Differential Deposition for Figure Correction in X-Ray Optics

PI: Kiranmayee Kilaru (MSFC)




slide image

Support structure for X-ray mirror shell


Significance: High-quality X-ray optics may enable future X-ray missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Full-Shell Direct Polishing

PI: Stephen Bongiorno (MSFC)




slide image

Innovative methods of fabricating lightweight, high-resolution, low-cost space-borne optics, e.g. using polyimide aerogel


Significance: Low-cost, lightweight, high-quality X-ray optics may enable many future missions

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Optics: Hybrid X-Ray Optics by Additive Manufacturing

PI: David Broadway (MSFC)




slide image

Adjustable X-ray mirror sample, with front reflective surface shown on left, and electrode control side on right


Significance: Adjustable X-ray optics are a backup technology for the Lynx X-ray large mission concept

Project Title: Adjustable X-Ray Optics

PI: Paul Reid (SAO)




slide image

0.5-megapixel X-ray CCDs, front-illuminated (left) and back-illuminated (right); back-illuminated offers better low-energy response


Significance: Advanced X-ray detectors may enable the Lynx large mission concept

Project Title: Toward Fast, Low-Noise, Radiation Tolerant X-ray Imaging Arrays for Lynx: Raising Technology Readiness Further

PI: Mark Bautz (MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research)




slide image

Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD) window replaced with 2-µm-thick nitrocellulose membrane


Significance: Replacing windows of commercially available DMDs may enable far-UV multi-object spectrometry in future missions

Project Title: Development of DMDs for Far-UV Applications

PI: Zoran Ninkov (RIT)




slide image

Back side of adjustable X-ray mirror segment with row-column addressing, electro-static-discharge (ESD) protection circuits, and piezo cells


Significance: Adjustable X-ray optics are a backup technology for the Lynx X-ray large mission concept

Project Title: Adjustable X-Ray Optics

PI: Paul Reid (SAO)




slide image

µMUX/SMuRF readout deployed on Keck telescope at South Pole


Significance: High-density readout may enable large focal planes in future space missions

Project Title: Advancing High-Density Readout Technology for Superconducting Sensor Arrays for Spaceflight

PI: Josef Frisch (SLAC)




slide image

Sample electronics box with Transition Edge Sensor (TES) microcalorimeter detectors, microwave multiplexers, and support electronics


Significance: High-multiplexing-factor readouts may enable missions such as Lynx

Project Title: Technology development for Microwave Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) multiplexing for the Lynx X-ray Observatory

PI: Douglas Bennett (NIST)




slide image

Active gasp-gap heat switches used in continuous adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (CADR) cooling system


Significance: This advanced sub-Kelvin cooling technology has been baselined by Lynx, Origins, PICO, and GEP

Project Title: High-Efficiency Continuous Cooling for Cryogenic Instruments and sub-Kelvin Detectors

PI: James Tuttle (GSFC)




slide image

Through-wafer via allowing connection of 2D superconducting detectors to cold readout electronics


Significance: This new technique may enable the Origins large mission concept

Project Title: Development of a Robust, Efficient Process to Produce Scalable, Superconducting Kilopixel Far-IR Detector Arrays

PI: Johannes Staguhn (JHU & GSFC)




slide image

100-mm convex SISTINE secondary mirror over-coated at JPL


Significance: May enable or enhance future far-UV missions

Project Title: High-Performance, Stable, and Scalable UV Aluminum Mirror Coatings Using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

PI: John Hennessy (JPL)




slide image

Large Area Plasma Processing System (LAPPS) reactor at NRL, used for removing oxidation from aluminum optics prior to coating


Significance: High far-UV reflectance is prevented by oxidation of aluminum mirrors; removing it may enable future far-UV missions

Project Title: E-Beam-Generated Plasma Etching for Developing High-Reflectance Mirrors for Far-UV Astronomical Instrument Applications

PI: Manuel Quijada (GSFC)




slide image

Buttressed (top) and unbuttressed Transition-Edge-Sensor (TES) bolometer devices


Significance: Extremely sensitive far-IR detectors may enable future missions

Project Title: Ultra-Sensitive Bolometers for Far-IR Space Spectroscopy at the Background Limit

PI: C. Matt Bradford (JPL




slide image

1.9-THz 4-pixel frequency-multiplied chain for Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory 2 (STO-2, launched Dec 2016)


Significance: Further development of this high-resolution far-IR detector technology to higher pixel numbers may enable or enhance future missions

Project Title: Development of High-Resolution Far-IR Arrays

PI: Imran Mehdi (JPL)




slide image

Harris 1.5-m ULE® Advanced Mirror Technology Development (AMTD) mirror


Significance: This technology may enable required ultra-stability (~10 pm) for HabEx and LUVOIR missions

Project Title: : Predictive Thermal Control (PTC) Technology to enable Thermally Stable Telescopes

PI: H. Philip Stahl (MSFC)




slide image

Curved grooves with 4° blaze ruled on flat grating (top) with EUV measurement (bottom)


Significance: May enable future UV/optical spectroscopic missions; enables current UV suborbital missions

Project Title: Electron-Beam-Lithography Ruled Gratings for Future UV/Optical Missions: High Efficiency and Low Scatter in the Vacuum UV

PI: Brian Fleming (U. of Colorado)




slide image

Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) amplifier for 100-mK test


Significance: May enable future Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) missions, e.g. LiteBIRD

Project Title: Technology Development for LiteBIRD and other CMB Missions

PI: Adrian T. Lee (UC Berkeley)




slide image

Substrates with light shields for next-generation electrostatically activated microshutter arrays


Significance: May enable sparse-field multi-object spectroscopy for e.g. LUVOIR, HabEx, CETUS, and/or AERIE

Project Title: Scalable Microshutter Systems for UV, Visible, and IR Spectrosco

PI: Matt Greenhouse (GSFC)




slide image

Planacon 50-mm detector with sapphire input window, bialkali cathode, and pair of 54-mm, 20-µm-pore ALD borosilicate Multi-Channel Plates (MCP)


Significance: Baselined by HabEx, LUVOIR, and CETUS for UV/Visible light detection

Project Title: High-Performance Sealed-Tube Cross-Strip (XS) Photon-Counting Sensors for UV-Vis Astrophysics Instruments

PI: Oswald Siegmund (UC Berkeley)




slide image

Portable X-ray Spectrometer/Electron Beam Ion Trap (XRS/EBIT) for specialized experiments


Significance:Supports NASA X-ray observatories by developing similar instruments in ground-based labs, replicating conditions in astrophysical sources observed by spaceflight instruments, and observing them parametrically to help interpret space-based data

Project Title: Advanced X-ray Microcalorimeters: Lab Spectroscopy for Space Atomic Physics

PI: F. Scott Porter (GSFC)




slide image

Radiation-testing Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) coatings


Significance: Detectors baselined by SHIELDS, HabEx, LUVOIR, and ground facilities are fabricated using ALD coatings

Project Title: Advanced FUV/UV/Visible Photon-Counting and Ultralow-Noise Detectors

PI: Shouleh Nikzad (JPL/Caltech)




slide image

2×2 array of Timepix readout chips for Multi-Channel Plate detectors


Significance: Four-side-buttable low-power readout chips may enable future far-UV missions with large focal planes

Project Title: Large-Format, High-Dynamic-Range UV detector using Multi-Channel Plates (MCPs) and Timepix4 readouts

PI: John Vallerga (UC Berkeley)




slide image

Chip carrier with printed circuit board for wiring (left), and die of 20 DFB devices indium die-bonded to copper chip carrier (right)


Significance: This technology provides 4.7-THz local oscillators (LOs), enabling far-IR/sub-mm missions such as the balloon-borne Galactic/Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory (GUSTO)

Project Title: Raising the Technology Readiness of 4.7-THz local oscillators

PI: Qing Hu (MIT)




slide image

UHV system built at ASU for fluoride Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition (PEALD) mirror coatings


Significance: High-reflectance UV coatings would vastly improve system throughput for photon-starved UV astronomy; this system attempted to develop advanced technique for depositing high-reflectance UV coatings

Project Title: Improving UV Coatings and Filters using Innovative Materials Deposited by ALD

PI: Paul Scowen (ASU)







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