October Luncheon Meeting (Goleta) 10/10/18

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 12:00 PM — 01:30 PM

Looking for Planets Outside Our Solar System with Superconducting Photon Detectors

MAZIN Camera

In astronomy, the only way to get a bigger signal is to build a bigger telescope or make a better camera for an existing telescope. While larger telescopes come roughly once every 30 years, better instruments and especially better detectors can be updated much more rapidly, leading to startling advances.

UCSB's Dr. Ben Mazin will present his group's work developing an entirely new kind of camera based on a revolutionary new photon sensor, known as a Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors, or MKIDs. These detectors are made of platinum silicide superconductors. They operate at 0.1 degrees above absolute zero and are the most powerful optical and near-IR photon detectors on the planet. He will also discuss how his group is using MKID cameras to directly image exoplanets around the nearest stars.

Dr. Ben Mazin

Dr. Ben Mazin, UCSB Professor of Physics, attended Yale University, graduating in 1997. He then attended the California Institute of Technology, graduating with a doctorate in Astrophysics in August 2004. After a short post-doc at Caltech, he went to work as a scientist at JPL in March 2005. He joined the faculty at UCSB in September 2008, where he leads a lab dedicated to the development of optical/UV/X-ray Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) and astronomical instrumentation for time and energy resolved studies. His current research focus is building and using MKID-based instruments for detecting and characterizing nearby exoplanets. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2010 and the Worster Chair in Experimental Physics in 2017.


High Sierra Grill in Goleta