Application of MIKDs to areas outside astronomy including bio-medical applications

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Application of MIKDs to areas outside astronomy including bio-medical applications

Supervision: John Girkin, Kieran O'Brien, CfAI, Department of Physics Durham University


Project Outline

The aim of this project is to explore the use of a novel superconducting optical detector for applications in the life and clinical sciences. Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) are a novel optical detector originally developed for use in astronomy. They work at visible and infrared wavelengths, where an incoming photon causes a change in the properties of a superconducting circuit. This change can be measured to enable us to detect the signal from individual photons over an array of many thousands of pixels. Unlike a conventional silicon or CMOS detector, used in conventional cameras and photodiodes, MKIDs provide information on the arrival time of a photon to around 1 microsecond, as well as the energy of the photon (or equivalently its wavelength) to around 5%. The lack of readout noise and dark current make these detectors extremely sensitive.

These new detectors are currently being developed for use on large astronomical telescopes. This project will build on experience of developing these exciting new detectors at Durham University and explore their application in a range of areas outside of astronomy. These applications include optical microscopy, fluorescent lifetime imaging and spectroscopically resolved imaging of tissue and will have a focus on potential clinical applications. The student will be working in an internationally growing area of detector research, applying these new devices for the first time to an area outside astronomy. They will gain multidisciplinary experience in superconductivity, cryogenics and high-speed data acquisition, as well as more conventional optics and applications to research in the life and clinical sciences.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513039/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2276625 Studentship EP/R513039/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2023 Benjamin Shaw