Pathfinder Grant Awarded to L. Jay Guo

L. Jay Guo, professor at U-M Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, was awarded a U-M Space Institute Pathfinder Grant in the amount of $5,000, for his project “Silica Aerogel Composite with Embedded Carbon Nanotubes as Perfect Absorber for Stray Light Control for Deep Space Survey” in December 2023.

“Minimizing stray light scatting is essential for telescopes and spectrometers to obtain faithful imagery and spectra data in low signal light condition, since stray light will increase the background noise of the detectors. To suppress the reflection of stray light to a very low level, we will develop an advanced coating material that serves as a broadband prefect absorber. Theoretically, if a material coating has its real part refractive index closely matches to air and has the ability to absorb a wide spectrum of light, given enough thickness most of the light will be absorbed and little can be reflected from the coated surface. Our previous research result showed that a dense “forest” of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs) is an exceptionally broadband light absorber. Inspired by this finding we like to explore highly porous matrix, e. g. silica aerogel, to provide index matching to air. By embedding MWCNTs in silica aerogel, we hope to develop nanocomposite that can be coated on arbitrary surfaces to function as effective broadband “perfect” absorber.”