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Detection of Light b


Admission requirements


Part b of this course covers recent detector technologies and advanced topics, such as:

  • Microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs)

  • Transition edge sensors (TES)

  • Detection of X-ray photons

  • Effects of high-energy radiation on detectors

The emphasis of part b is on more recent detector developments in low temperature detectors and advanced topics related to the practical operation of detectors. Since part of the lectures will be given by external guest lecturers, the topics covered in this course may change, depending on their availability.

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.

  • State-of-the-art superconducting detector devices

  • Future detector technologies for astronomy
    Critically reading and evaluating scientific literature


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

Half of the lectures are given by the lecturer of the course (Pieter de Visser). The other half of the lectures will be given by guest lecturers, most of them from outside Leiden University.

Assessment method

  1. Mandatory attendance of the guest lectures
  2. Poster presentation in one of the lectures near the end of course, on a research question that will guide a literature study. Questions/topics will be handed out at the start of the course (25% of the final grade).
  3. Written exam - closed book with formula sheet provided (75% of the final grade).

Reading list

This course does not require any formal book.


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.


Lecturer: Dr. ir. Pieter de Visser (


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)

  • Project management – planning, scope, boundaries, result-orientation

  • Motivation – commitment, pro-active attitude, initiative

  • 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

  • Integrity (honesty, moral, ethics, personal values)