NASA’s future telescopes need robust, high-sensitivity, kilopixel-format superconducting arrays that operate over the entire far-IR spectrum. Previously, some of the key technologies needed for these arrays were demonstrated on the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera (HAWC+) on the Stratospheric Observatory for Far-Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Those detectors provided excellent performance for suborbital far-IR applications, but their production was very labor intensive with relatively low fabrication yields. The remaining major technologies required to enable future FIR space-based telescopes are: (a) robust detector array architectures with approximately 100,000 individual pixels and (b) integrated readout multiplexers that can meet the ultra-low noise requirements of space missions.
There is a temperature difference between space and the temperature of free roaming rogue exoplanets. Highly sensitive infrared (heat) detectors should be able to spot lower temperature differences.
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