July 11, 2008
JPL physicist Boris S. Karasik co-leads a research team that will help astronomers see invisible light. The team developed a hot-electron nano-bolometer -- a tiny device that measures the energy of electromagnetic radiation -- that is incredibly sensitive to invisible light in the far-infrared spectrum. Such light makes up 98 percent of the light emitted since the birth of the universe billions of years ago.
The next steps for this NASA-funded research are to build and test optical arrays of these nano-detectors made of titanium, Karasik said. These devices may be used in far-infrared space telescopes 10 to 20 years from now. Less-sensitive versions of these devices, he added, may be used much sooner in telescopes on suborbital balloons and aircraft, and even in ground-based telescopes.
Karasik and Michael Gershenson, a physics professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., lead the team, which includes JPL researcher Sergey Perverzev, a senior NASA postdoctoral fellow, and researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo. The team's research will be published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nnano.2008.173.html . A digital version appears on the journal's Web site.
View the Rutgers University news release http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/news-releases/2008/07/nano-sized-electroni-20080710
Media contact: Rhea Borja/JPL