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UV-Visible Detectors
Above: This Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy Messier 83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. In 2008, using UV images collected by the Galex spacecraft, astronomers discovered the birth of new stars in the spiral arms of Messier 83. At 15 million light-years from Earth, this galaxy has also presented many supernova explosions and may have a double nucleus at its core.

UV/Visible Detectors and Instrument Technologies

Advances generated at MDL will extend our vision to unprecedented sensitivities, enabling future discoveries and capabilities.

MDL develops high-performance devices, instrument components, and systems through innovative design and nanoscale band structure engineering by employing epitaxial techniques such as molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) and atomic layer deposition (ALD). Through the use of JPL-invented 2D doping (delta-doping and superlattice-doping) MBE techniques, we can achieve 100% internal quantum efficiency (QE). By combining these techniques with novel antireflection coatings and detector-integrated filters, using ALD, we have demonstrated silicon detectors with tailorable response and high QE in the UV/Optical/NIR spectral range which exhibit reliable and repeatable performance. Highly reflective coatings for mirrors and optical components also using ALD enable higher-throughput UV and UV-Optical instruments. Interface engineering at nanoscale using epitaxial techniques are also applied to other material and detector systems such as gallium nitride and its alloys for high performance detectors and photocathodes. Combination of various technologies have led to development of compact, high throughput systems such as JPL’s Offner-based UV imaging spectrometer and compact UV cameras for CubeSats. These technological advances are enabling for future astrophysics, planetary, and heliophysics missions and invariably have dual use in commercial, industrial, and medical applications.

UV-Visible Detectors

Products & Processes

Image from MDL Core Competency Project: Detectors & Instruments

Detectors & Instruments

Using of JPL-invented 2D doping (delta-doping and superlattice-doping), we can produce detectors with 100% internal quantum efficiency (QE). Novel antireflection coatings and detector-integrated filters implemented...

Image from MDL Core Competency Project: Suborbital


For the past three decades, theoretical physicists have predicted that primordial gas from the Big Bang is not spread uniformly throughout space but is instead distributed as a “cosmic web,” or a network of smaller and larger filaments...

Image from MDL Core Competency Project: Orbital


In the search for extraterrestrial signs of life, many researchers are focusing on exoplanets - or planets that exist beyond our solar system - so far away that they are undetectable using current technology...

Image from MDL Core Competency Project: On-sky Observations

On-sky Observations

On-sky observations with broadband delta-doped arrays were planned as part of an effort funded by NASA’s Strategic Astrophysics Technology (SAT). Delta-doped p-channel devices were previously...

Image from MDL Core Competency Project: Novel Materials & Detectors

Novel Materials & Detectors

Wide bandgap semiconductors such as gallium nitride and its alloys are excellent candidate materials for fabricating solar-blind UV detectors. One promising class of detectors is the avalanche photodiode (APD)...

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