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The first high-rate, two-way, space communication technology demonstration mission is currently on board NASA’s LADEE spacecraft. An SNSPD detector array, developed by MDL, exhibited downlink communication of high-definition video at 79 megabits per second from the spacecraft in 2013.

Superconducting Materials and Devices

MDL researchers advance devices that detect the cosmic microwave background and the elemental composition of distant galaxies, and at home empower new telescopes.

Superconducting devices and materials researchers lead or participate in all aspects of device technology from invention, initial concept demonstration, microfabrication, and engineering development to final integration and testing in the fielded instrument and data analysis. Superconducting devices require cryogenic temperatures to operate, from millikelvin temperatures, less than 1 K from absolute zero, to liquid helium (1–4 K) and liquid nitrogen temperatures (77 K). The researchers have experience in engineering, qualifying, and testing cryogenic support structures; hybridization of microfabricated devices on low-temperature capable electronics boards; high-density, low-thermal impact cabling; and high-speed electronics. Novel, nonsuperconducting materials have also been used to create new devices that operate in higher temperatures such as the ambient environment on Mars.

 

Current Projects