Prospectus

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Detection of Light a

Course
2024-2025

Admission requirements

  • Basic knowledge of solid state physics

Description

Part a of this course is aimed at observational astronomers in general, to provide a solid knowledge basis on the generation of their observational data. Detectors are the crucial link between the astronomical target and the observer. Apart from the telescope, their performance is arguably the single most important component – and often weakest link – in the chain of observational optical devices. As astronomers are increasingly aiming at fainter targets, the quality and calibration of the detector systems have become increasingly important. Detector types that will be discussed include intrinsic and extrinsic photo-conductors, CCDs, BIB detectors, photodiodes, bolometers, and submillimeter- and millimeterwave heterodyne receivers. The course covers their physical principles and discusses performance aspects like linearity and dynamical range, spectral response, bandwidth, quantum efficiency and noise. In addition, this course covers practical aspects of general relevance to observational astronomers, including readout schemes, cosmetic quality of array detectors and the mitigation of artefacts.

Course objectives

The main objectives of this course are to provide an overview of:

  • Technologies and underlying physics used to detect electromagnetic radiation from UV to sub-millimeter wavelengths;

  • The most common devices to be found in astronomical instruments;

  • Performance aspects, mitigation of artefacts and calibration strategies relevant to the data analysis.

  • Important aspects for the design and operation of photon detectors.

Timetable

See Astronomy master schedules

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have successfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go to the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lectures

Assessment method

  • Weekly homework assignments (mandatory and accounting for 33% of final grade)

  • Written exam - closed book with formula sheet provided (66%: ~50% calculations, ~30% qualitative explanations, ~20% multiple choice questions), see the Astronomy master examination schedules

The re-take exam will be an oral exam; the final grade will then be computed from the grade for the oral retake (2/3), and the previously done homeworks (1/3, no "homework retake").

Reading list

Detection of Light, by George H. Rieke, 3rd Edition, 2021, Cambridge University Press. Required

Registration

As a student, you are responsible for registering on time, i.e. 14 days before the start of the course. This can be done via Mystudymap. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2. Please note: late registration is not possible.

Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July; registration for courses in the second semester is possible from December. First-year bachelor students are registered for semester 1 by the faculty student administration; they do not have to do this themselves. For more information, see this page

In addition, it is mandatory for all students, including first-year bachelor students, to register for exams. This can be done up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the exam or up to five calendar days in case of a retake exam. You cannot participate in the exam or retake without a valid registration in My Studymap.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.

Contact

Lecturer: Prof.dr. B.R. (Bernhard) Brandl

Remarks

Soft skills
In this course, students will be trained in the following behaviour-oriented skills:

  • Problem solving (recognizing and analyzing problems, solution-oriented thinking)

  • Analytical skills (analytical thinking, abstraction, evidence)

  • Motivation – commitment, pro-active attitude, initiative

  • Self-regulation – independence, self-esteem, aware of own goals, motives and capacities

  • Verbal communication – presenting, speaking, listening

  • Written communication (writing skills, reporting, summarizing)

  • Critical thinking (asking questions, check assumptions)

  • Creative thinking – resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box