Detection of Light
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Detectors are the crucial link between the astronomical target and the observer. Apart from the telescope, their performance is arguably the most important component – and often weakest link – in the chain of observational devices. As astronomers are aiming at fainter and fainter targets, the quality and calibration of the detector systems have become increasingly important.
Topics to be covered include intrinsic and extrinsic photo-conductors, CCDs, infrared arrays, photodiodes, bolometers, coherent receivers, and submillimeter- and millimeterwave heterodyne receivers. In addition, this course covers practical aspects which are of general interest to the observer, such as cosmetic quality, linearity and dynamical range, spectral response and bandwidth, and quantum efficiency and noise.
The main objectives of this course are to provide an overview of:
- the various technologies (and underlying physics) used to detect UV to the sub-millimeter radiation;
- the most common devices to be found at an observatory;
- performance aspects and artifacts of detectors;
- readout and calibration strategies for detectors.
Mode of instruction
Lectures and homework assignments
Detection of Light – from the Ultraviolet to the Submillimeter, by George Rieke, 2nd Edition, 2003, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-01710-6.
BSc course on Astronomical Observing Techniques;
Basic knowledge of solid state physics.
See Master schedules
More information can be found on the lecturer’s website
Please note that this is a mandatory course for all MSc students who follow the Astronomy & Instrumentation programme.
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