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Etching: The Star of the Show

As another year draws to a close, we like to look back on the last twelve months and reflect on how important the work that we do here at Qualitetch is. Not for ego, but to understand the world around us in more depth. This year, there was one stand out piece of news that caught our attention, and it goes to show just how significant and far-reaching the  metal etching process  is.

The search for life in space is well documented in the media, and rightly so. It is only natural for us humans to want to explore the universe as best as we can, given the sheer amount of technology at our disposal.   Often left by the wayside is the humble star, an incredible feat of life and energy all bundled together, making up our solar system as we know it.

However, this might be about to change.

Scientists in Colorado have created a prototype sensor for a far-infrared detector array that is going to be fitted to a telescope. The telescope in question is the Balloon-Borne Large Aperture Submillimetre Telescope, also known as the BLAST-TNG. The telescope will eventually be sent into the stratosphere and will delicately peer into the far-infrared spectrum. In Layman’s terms, this sensor is going to help document the process that a star goes through when it is created.

The telescope will weigh 2,200kg, but the wafer sensor itself is only 15cm long. Crammed into 10cm of this is 2,000 pixels, each less than a tenth of an inch and each with features as tiny as one-tenth the width of a single strand of hair – one micron. Even at such a minuscule scale, scientists hope to fill the wafer with cameras to capture the origins of a star.

The sensor is still in fabrication mode and is being tested for sensitivity to light wavelengths. You can follow the progress of the BLAST-TNG project on their  Facebook  page. This progression into outer space is yet another huge step forward for infrared astronomy, and none of it would be possible half as easily without the use of the  metal etching process  – as the sensor was, in fact, created using a combination of masking and etched metal. Wow!

Here at  Qualitetch, we are industry leaders when it comes to providing etched metal solutions, and are proud to be a part of the industry that can create something as incredible as this.

We might not be able to offer your far-infrared detectors, but we can certainly provide you with any of your etched metal needs. Please browse our site for more information, and  contact us  should you have any queries.