Student lays technology foundation for balloon mission camera

Last week TU Delft student XuXiang Liu obtained his Msc degree in Electrical Engineering. XuXiang, who graduated with cum laude, was the very first student in Electrical Engineering who did his graduation project at SRON. At SRON he laid a solid technology foundation for the proposed cameras of the NASA balloon borne observatory GUSTO.

Xuxiang Liu ( in the middle) and the exam committee: dr. Akira Endo (host supervisor at TU Delft), prof. Andrea Neto (head of the host group at TU Delft), dr. Darren Hayton (supervisor) and dr. Jian-Rong Gao

XuXiang was based at SRON Groningen where he worked on the demonstration of heterodyne array technology, supervised by instrument scientist Darren Hayton. This technology works at a terahertz frequency range of 1.5-6 terahertz (wavelength 50-200 micrometers). XuXiang successfully demonstrated a terahertz grating which can magically split a single incoming beam into multiple beams. More importantly, XuXiang also designed and realized the setup of a complete 4 pixel receiver at terahertz frequencies, and successfully demonstrated it for the first time.

His results laid a solid technology foundation for the cameras that are planned for GUSTO, a NASA balloon borne observatory, and future NASA far infrared space missions. With the new detector technology astronomers will be able to map the spectrally resolved atomic and molecular lines in our galaxy, which are necessary to untangle the complexities of the interstellar medium.

Graduation projects
XuXiang – one of the best students SRON has ever had – will now join the Huawei research center in Shanghai. Other students looking for a graduation project in this field are welcome to contact SRON. SRON can offer interesting research subjects on space detectors and instrumentation, with world class experimental facilities and technical supports, and students will be well coached.

For more information please contact dr. Jian-Rung Gao or dr. Gert de Lange, section heads of Cryo Utrecht and Cryo Groningen, respectively.