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Center Independent Research & Development: JPL IRAD

Development of a 10 Micron Laser Frequency Comb and Broadband Heterodyne Receiver (THERM)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Development of broadband heterodyne receivers in the thermal infrared in order to enable very high angular imaging of exoplanets (such as the new Proxima Centauri planet), planet formation, and other objects of interest such as geosynchrnous satellites. 

In the thermal infrared, the heterodyne SNR for interferometry is similar to that for direct detection inteferometry. Furthermore, heterodyne allows unprecedented baselines. The development of effective heterodyne receivers needs development of 10 micron laser frequency comb local oscillators and linear arrays of fast photodiode detectors. The THERM project is pursuing the development of an effective local oscillator and the required detector arrays as a collaboration between JPL and the Applied Physics Department at Caltech. It will also demonstrate the locking of independent LOs over large distances.

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