Science and Engineering
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD
This project will build on the team’s recent breakthroughs in photonics to reverse the mass and cost spiral that would otherwise limit capabilities of giant next-generation ultraviolet/optical/infrared telescopes. Photonics is the use of material to manipulate light. It is the equivalent of electronics but applied to photons rather than electrons. The telecommunication and information technology revolution of recent decades is a direct result of advances in photonics. The team plans to take advantage of this technology to build a breadbox-sized near-infrared spectrometer and improve current sensitivities by a factor of five. By attaching the instrument to existing telescopes, they will identify the most ancient explosive objects in the universe and use them as beacons to probe the conditions in the primeval epoch of galaxy and supermassive black hole formation.
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