MDL News & Trends
JPL Microdevices Laboratory Selected to Lead Study on Next-Generation UV Instrument Technologies
Discoveries by missions such as Cassini, Galaxy Evolution Explorer, and the Hubble Space Telescope have opened up exciting new areas to be explored in UV/optical science. For discoveries beyond these missions, advances in technology must occur. That need spurred the Keck Institute for Space Studies to select JPL, Caltech, and Columbia University to create new concepts for next-generation UV instruments. Ultraviolet offers one of the few remaining areas of the electromagnetic spectrum where it is possible to create new opportunities for discovery by combining improvements in detector quantum efficiency (5–10 times), optical coatings, and higher-performance wide-field spectrometers (5–10 times), and increasing multiplex advantage (100–1000 times). Innovations in nanostructured materials, detectors, and optics could enable UV instruments with unprecedented performance in throughput, sensitivity, and resolution, as well as significant reductions in mass, power, and cost. Many new concepts were evaluated and prioritized as a result of this study.