A new telescope with graphene sensors that is highly sensitive to terahertz frequencies has been developed. The telescope is able to detect polarisation and be adjusted electronically.
“New equipment developed in Brazil – the Solar-T – will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to measure solar flares.
It is estimated that the Sun-THz, the name given to the new photometric telescope, will be launched in 2022 on one of the missions to the ISS and will remain there to take consistent measurements.
The Sun THz is an enhanced version of the Solar-T, a double photometric telescope that was launched in 2016 by NASA in Antarctica in a stratospheric balloon that flew 12 days at an altitude of 40,000 m.
The Solar-T captured the energy emitted by solar flares at two unprecedented frequencies: from 3 to 7 terahertz (THz) that correspond to a segment of far infrared radiation. The Solar-T was designed and built in Brazil by researchers at CRAAM together with colleagues at the Center for Semiconductor Components at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP).
The new equipment will be the product of a partnership with the Lebedev Physics Institute in Russia.
Experiments in creating these detectors are currently underway at the Center for Advanced Graphene, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology Research (MackGraphe) at Mackenzie Presbyterian University, a FAPESP-funded center.
“The technology and concept behind the telescope were developed here [in Brazil]. The Russians liked the idea and are reproducing it and adding more elements. We are working on the cutting edge of technology. Forty years ago, the cutting edge for what could be done was 100 gigahertz. With the results obtained over the years, we are seeking higher frequencies, and prospects for the future are good,” said the researcher.
The project also enjoys collaboration from the University of Glasgow, as part of the PhD work of Jordi Tuneu Serra, who is currently on a FAPESP-funded doctoral research internship abroad and who also attended FAPESP Week London.”