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Superconducting sensors: probing cosmology and forensics

Abstract: Measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) with superconducting transition-edge sensor arrays are setting new constraints on cosmological parameters, including the absolute masses of neutrino species and the possibility of additional sterile neutrinos. I will describe these results, and the next generation of experiments, which will probe even deeper by measuring polarization from lensing of the CMB by cosmic structure. Remarkably, very similar sensor arrays to those we have developed for CMB measurements can also be used for characterizing chemicals of interest in forensics and security. I will describe the use of a superconducting sensor array to analyze the chemical bonding states of nitrogen in ammonium nitrate and RDX at a synchrotron light source.
Speaker: Kent Irwin - NIST Boulder
Speaker Bio: Kent Irwin received a B.S. at Caltech in 1988 and a Ph.D. at Stanford in 1995. He is a Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, and an Adjoint Professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He leads the Quantum Sensors Program at NIST, developing superconducting detectors for applications in astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear security, and materials analysis.
Poster Link: Poster