GaN-based detectors advance UV astronomy

Melville P. Ulmer*, Bruce W. Wessels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Researchers are developing new detection technologies such as gallium nitride (GaN) photocathodes for UV astronomy, which detects the resonant absorption lines of the majority of the elements. Measuring the UV astronomy can allow the researchers to understand the variety of shapes in Hubble Space Telescopes near-infrared images of very distant galaxies. The electron mobility is especially important for transmission mode photocathodes in which the photoelectron must travel on average farther than in the reflection or opaque mode. GaN photocathodes addresses the signal to noise (SNR) ratio and the bandgap of 3.4 eV makes the devices effectively visible blind, simultaneously preventing red leak. The GaN must be highly conductive and p-type to be made into an effective photocathode. It could be grown on a micro-channel plate and then an opaque mode zero-read-noise detector can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationLaser Focus World
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Marketing


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