The two principal Darwin mission requirements driving the detector development are sensitivity and vibration suppression. These mission requirements drive the detector requirements in opposite directions: the need for sensitivity implies the use of cryogenically operated detectors, while vibration minimization implies that vibrations are not induced by the detector cooler. A higher detector operating temperature would potentially remove the need for active cooling and thus contribute to a more quiet mechanical environment, as required by the high precision optical interferometer.
BIB (blocked-impurity-band) detectors
The challenge at hand is thus to achieve the required sensitivity at the highest possible operating temperature. Within this activity extrinsic semiconductor BIB technology tailored to a DARWIN type mission shall be developed. More specifically, we investigate available or promising extrinsic semiconductor BIB detector technologies and study their performance as a function of operating temperature, select the most promising ones to operate at the highest possible temperature – up to 40 K – with the required sensitivity.
Applicability to mission: DARWIN
Technology Readiness Target: 2004-2006