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Digitial Readout for Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors and Applications in High Time Resolution Astronomy


This dissertation spans two topics relating to optical to

near-infrared astronomical cameras built around Microwave Kinetic

Inductance Detectors (MKIDs). The first topic is the development of a

digital readout system for 10- to 30-kilopixel arrays of MKIDs. MKIDs are

superconducting detectors that can detect individual photons with a wide

range of wavelengths with high time resolution (\SI{2}{\micro s}) and low energy

resolution. The advantage of MKIDs over other low temperature detectors with similar capabilities is that it is relatively straightforward to multiplex MKIDs into large

arrays. All the complexity of readout is in room temperature electronics.

This work discusses the implementation and programming of these


The second part of this work demonstrates the capabilities of the prototype

optical and near-infrared MKID instrument with observations of

pulsars. Detecting optical pulsations in these objects require high time

resolution and low noise. The discovery of a correlation between the

brightness of optical pulses from the Crab pulsar and the time of arrival

of coincident giant radio pulses is presented. The search for optical

pulses from a millisecond pulsar J0337+1715 is discussed along with a new

upper limit on the brightness of its optical pulses.

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