The performance of superconducting focal planes will drive the achievable specifications of ultrasensitive instruments for NASA astrophysics missions, yet they have serious challenges with magnetic shielding in achieving their optimal performance. We will undertake a study to demonstrate suppression of flux dynamics that hinder detector performance for future NASA mission focal planes. We will further investigate capabilities relevant to NASA missions including lithographed or ion beam patterned designs for improving detector performance and field stitching for increasing array formats for future ultrasensitive imaging arrays.
GSFC has aggressive programs in superconducting focal planes including transition edge sensors (TES) for x-rays (ATHENA X-IFU) and infrared (HIRMES, PIPER), magnetic calorimeters, or MagCal, (X-ray surveyor) and kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs) for infrared spectroscopy and imaging (Microspec, Far-IR Surveyor). The TESs are susceptible to flux trapping and other effects of stray magnetic fields that cause degraded performance through “kinks” in the superconducting transition creating noisy bias spots. While a single detector can be shown to have good performance, large arrays will have degraded performance on average as some devices are forced to be biased on or near a kink. While subtle, the effect can be measured in high fidelity testbeds uniquely available at GSFC. KID detectors consisting of superconducting microwave resonators experience a more direct degradation through reduction of the quality factor Q that defines the width of the resonance and correlates to the noise performance of the device.
Large focal planes of ultrasensitive detectors for future missions will benefit from reduced magnetic sensitivity. Benefits to the FPA performance include increased uniformity. Benefits to the instrument design include lower mass dedicated to magnetic shielding and electromagnietic environment requirements.More »
The purpose of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Internal Research and Development (IRAD) program is to support new technology development and to address scientific challenges. Each year, Principal Investigators (PIs) submit IRAD proposals and compete for funding for their development projects. Goddard’s IRAD program supports eight Lines of Business: Astrophysics; Communications and Navigation; Cross-Cutting Technology and Capabilities; Earth Science; Heliophysics; Planetary Science; Science Small Satellites Technology; and Suborbital Platforms and Range Services.
Task progress is evaluated twice a year at the Mid-term IRAD review and the end of the year. When the funding period has ended, the PIs compete again for IRAD funding or seek new sources of development and research funding or agree to external partnerships and collaborations. In some cases, when the development work has reached the appropriate Technology Readiness Level (TRL) level, the product is integrated into an actual NASA mission or used to support other government agencies. The technology may also be licensed out to the industry.
The completion of a project does not necessarily indicate that the development work has stopped. The work could potentially continue in the future as a follow-on IRAD; or used in collaboration or partnership with Academia, Industry and other Government Agencies.
If you are interested in partnering with NASA, see the TechPort Partnerships documentation available on the TechPort Help tab. http://techport.nasa.gov/helpMore »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Greenbelt, MD|