Akira Endo

Experimental cosmology with superconducting nanocircuits

Since the very first days of astrophysics, scientists have been collecting and analysing the light reaching the earth from outer space. Thanks to recent advances in photonics and nanotechnology, however, in the future the processing and analysis of that light are more likely to be performed by chip-based electronic circuits than with optical instruments. 

As well as being very compact, this new generation of instruments will be extremely powerful. And that is particularly helpful for applications deployed in space or the upper atmosphere, where size, weight and mechanical reliability are crucial factors. 

Akira Endo wants to use advanced superconducting nanoelectronics to unleash what he calls an “astrophotonics revolution” in the so-called millimetre-submillimetre frequency band. For example, a nanostructured superconducting chip inside a telescope could reveal where and how far away the galaxies at the edge of the universe are. 

To achieve this, Endo is creating unique electronic circuits using superconductors, which have two types of charge carriers – Cooper pairs and quasiparticles. He first plans to use them to develop the DESHIMA spectrometer, to be set up in Chile. His second step will be the development of a so-called multi-object spectrometer, which should become the key instrument in future submillimetre telescopes. 

The ultimate goal is to establish a research group in Delft which, working closely with the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) and the rest of the Dutch astronomy community, is at the interface of astronomy and nanotechnology. 

More information
Please visit Akira Endo’s personal page.

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