The current baseline technology for the DARWIN science detectors is the Blocked Impurity Band (BIB) detector technology. However, these devices have an operational temperature of 8 K. DARWIN could potentially be passively cooled down to 40 K, so further cooling will require cryo-cooling equipment. This increases resources and system complexity caused by the cryo-cooler vibrations, mass and power. Therefore we are investigating a new technology for infra-red light detection between 6 and 20 micrometer: Quantum Well Infra-red Photoconductors (QWIPs).
Quantum Well IR Detectors
QWIPs have the advantage that their energy gap can be tailored and their operating temperature for the required performance has been estimated to be above 16 K.