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Detection of Light b


This is a preliminary course description. The definitive course description will be published here on June 1st.

Admission requirements


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

  • Microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs)

  • Transition edge sensors (TES)

  • Avalanche photodiodes

  • Detection of high energy photons

  • Quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP)

The emphasis of part b is on applications and technical realization. Since 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

  • Acquisition, selection and compilation of technical information into a research project


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 sucessfully 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 the 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

Lectures given by guest lecturers, most of them from outside Leiden University

Assessment method

  • Mandatory attendance of the guest lectures

  • Literature study/research report related to one of the topical guest lectures, to be completed within six weeks after the topic has been chosen (deadlines will be listed on the course website, see below). Grading will be according to the classification insufficient/sufficient/good. If the report is graded ‘insufficient’ the student will be offered to resubmit an improved version of the report within two weeks. In this case, the grade of the resubmitted report cannot be higher than 6.0.

Reading list

This course does not require any formal book.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturer: Prof.dr. B.R. (Bernhard) Brandl


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)