We present detector characterization of a state-of-the-art near-infrared (950nm - 1650 nm) Discrete Avalanche Photodiode detector (NIRDAPD) 5×5 array. We designed an experimental setup to characterize the NIRDAPD dark count rate, photon detection efficiency (PDE), and non-linearity. The NIRDAPD array was illuminated using a 1050 nm light-emitting diode (LED) as well as 980 nm, 1310 nm, and 1550 nm laser diodes. We find a dark count rate of 3.3×106 cps, saturation at 1.2x108 photons per second, a photon detection efficiency of 14.8% at 1050 nm, and pulse detection at 1 GHz. We characterized this NIRDAPD array for a future astrophysical program that will search for technosignatures and other fast (> 1 Ghz) astrophysical transients as part of the Pulsed All-sky Near-infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (PANOSETI) project. The PANOSETI program will consist of an all-sky optical (350 - 800 nm) observatory capable of observing the entire northern hemisphere instantaneously and a wide-field NIR (950 - 1650 nm) component capable of drift scanning the entire sky in 230 clear nights. PANOSETI aims to be the first wide-field fast-time response near-infrared transient search.
We present overall specifications and science goals for a new optical and near-infrared (350 - 1650 nm) instru- ment designed to greatly enlarge the current Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) phase space. The Pulsed All-sky Near-infrared Optical SETI (PANOSETI) observatory will be a dedicated SETI facility that aims to increase sky area searched, wavelengths covered, number of stellar systems observed, and duration of time monitored. This observatory will offer an “all-observable-sky” optical and wide-field near-infrared pulsed tech- nosignature and astrophysical transient search that is capable of surveying the entire northern hemisphere. The final implemented experiment will search for transient pulsed signals occurring between nanosecond to second time scales. The optical component will cover a solid angle 2.5 million times larger than current SETI targeted searches, while also increasing dwell time per source by a factor of 10,000. The PANOSETI instrument will be the first near-infrared wide-field SETI program ever conducted. The rapid technological advance of fast-response optical and near-infrared detector arrays (i.e., Multi-Pixel Photon Counting; MPPC) make this program now feasible. The PANOSETI instrument design uses innovative domes that house 100 Fresnel lenses, which will search concurrently over 8,000 square degrees for transient signals (see Maire et al. and Cosens et al., this conference). In this paper, we describe the overall instrumental specifications and science objectives for PANOSETI.
We propose a novel instrument design to greatly expand the current optical and near-infrared SETI search pa- rameter space by monitoring the entire observable sky during all observable time. This instrument is aimed to search for technosignatures by means of detecting nano- to micro-second light pulses that could have been emitted, for instance, for the purpose of interstellar communications or energy transfer. We present an instru- ment conceptual design based upon an assembly of 198 refracting 0.5-m telescopes tessellating two geodesic domes. This design produces a regular layout of hexagonal collecting apertures that optimizes the instrument footprint, aperture diameter, instrument sensitivity and total field-of-view coverage. We also present the optical performance of some Fresnel lenses envisaged to develop a dedicated panoramic SETI (PANOSETI) observatory that will dramatically increase sky-area searched (pi steradians per dome), wavelength range covered, number of stellar systems observed, interstellar space examined and duration of time monitored with respect to previous optical and near-infrared technosignature finders.
The Pulsed All-sky Near-infrared Optical Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (PANOSETI) is an instrument program that aims to search for fast transient signals (nano-second to seconds) of artificial or astrophysical origin. The PANOSETI instrument objective is to sample the entire observable sky during all observable time at optical and near-infrared wavelengths over 300 - 1650 nm. The PANOSETI instrument is designed with a number of modular telescope units using Fresnel lenses (~0.5m) arranged on two geodesic domes in order to maximize sky coverage. We present the prototype design and tests of these modular Fresnel telescope units. This consists of the design of mechanical components such as the lens mounting and module frame. One of the most important goals of the modules is to maintain the characteristics of the Fresnel lens under a variety of operating conditions. We discuss how we account for a range of operating temperatures, humidity, and module orientations in our design in order to minimize undesirable changes to our focal length or angular resolution.