Sensing at THz frequencies is a rapidly developing field, with applications as diverse as astronomy, atmospheric science, fusion diagnostics, material characterisation, security scanning and even art conservation. The demanding combination of high sensitivity and fast speed of response for THz detectors inevitably requires a technology that is cooled to cryogenic temperatures.
We develop superconducting detector technology. Exciting advances made at Cardiff in Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDS) and Transition Edge Superconductors (TES) are making possible large format, ultra sensitive arrays and compact on-chip spectrometers at mm to FIR (THz) wavelengths.
This is a long standing and highly successful activity within the AIG. New developments in this area are particularly crucial for wide-field instruments and the large superconducting arrays developed in the Detector group.
The same technology developed for distant astronomical observations can be faced towards the Earth and used to look at the atmosphere. We have been involved with several Earth Observing platforms over a great many years and are currently looking towards future EO satellite instrument concepts.
We have a programme to prove the technology for future very high angular resolution FIR observations for galactic and extra galactic science using interferometry.