US researchers have developed a new type of camera which will allow the astronomers to take bright pictures of the planet around the nearby located stars to find out another planet like our Earth. The camera is named as the DARKNESS which with the help of superconductor detectors to trace light from different distant worlds.
Ben Mazin who is a physician from the University of California Santa Barbara is the in charge of the mission and have been the primary person behind the developing of the camera. This camera takes the help of current optical and near-infrared telescopes with the built-in semiconductor detectors. It is the same technology and the material that is being used in the digital camera and the cell phones.
However, Mazin has further added that semiconductor sensors have certain limitations in it. It is very much incapable of tracking faint objects such as stars which are located at a far distance away from the earth. This drawback would be removed entirely in the latest camera which is using superconductors, as per the belief of the scientists and the team developing the camera.
The new technology that is used in the camera is referred to as microwave kinetic inductance detectors. This technology can work at shallow temperatures such as a tenth of a degree above absolute zero. The superconductor that is used in this camera is made up of platinum silicide which functions as an inductor. It also takes the role of an electrical component that tends to store energy in a magnetic field and works in tandem with a capacitor that is capable of storing the heat in the form of an electrical field. This helps to form an oscillator which is capable of detecting signal at a particular frequency.
Due to its high sensitivity, the 10000-pixel camera helps to detect objects in the distant vicinity of the stars by capturing the light that they emit. The favorite exoplanet hunter, the Kepler, used an indirect technique known as the transit technique which helps to find out the dip in the brightness of the star when a planet goes by it.
Another indirect technique that can be employed would be to measure changes in the radial velocity of the star. Mazin has however said that this technique that is used by DARKNESS in the form of direct imaging technique would be the most advanced process for finding exoplanets.