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New Sensor To Be A Boon To Scientists

A hot electron bolometer.
by Staff Writers
Delft, Holland (SPX) Jan 26, 2007
A sensor developed by a Netherlands Ph.D. candidate is expected to provide astronomers with new information about the birth of star systems and planets. The tiny, super-sensitive, sensor is designed to help solve the mysteries of outer space by detecting the terahertz frequencies contained in cosmic radiation.

Merlijn Hajenius developed the sensor for Delft University of Technology's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, in cooperation with the Netherlands Institute for Space Research. He received his Ph.D. last week based on the research project.

The detector, called a 'hot electron bolometer', is comprised of a small piece of superconducting niobiumnitride. A miniscule gold antenna catches the terahertz-radiation and sends it via the contacts to the small piece of niobiumnitride, which functions as an extremely sensitive thermometer.

"By reading this thermometer, we can very accurately measure the terahertz radiation," Hajenius explained.

The results have convinced astronomers to use the detectors for a new observatory in Antarctica and a new space mission has also been proposed.

The "maiden flight" of Hajenius' detector is planned next year aboard a balloon to measure the molecules in the atmosphere above Brazil that influence the formation of the hole in the ozone layer.

Source: United Press International

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Space Technology Can Help Ailing Agri Sector: Kasturirangan
Hyderabad, India (PTI) Jan 26, 2007
Calling for a national policy to use remote sensing to help agriculture sector, former ISRO Chairman K Kasturirangan said space technology can be used to improve land productivity. There is an alarming situation in agriculture production. But space technologies can be used to improve land productivity, he said while inaugurating a national symposium on Application of Space Technologies for Agricultural Development here.

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