The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been dominated by searches in radio wavelengths. Eventually SETI has been supplemented with Optical SETI, i.e. searches for signals in optical wavelengths. In the SETI Institute seminar video below, Shelley Wright of the University of Toronto reports on new technologies that are allowing the expansion of SETI into the near-infrared spectrum. Extending the search for ETI communication to near-infrared wavelengths – SETI Institute –

From the caption:

We are poised to take advantage of a remarkable confluence of technological advances and scientific opportunity. For the first time, very fast, wide bandwidth, high-gain, low noise near-infrared avalanche photo diode (APDs) detectors are available and reasonably priced.

Dr. Wright and her team are designing and constructing a new SETI instrument to search for direct evidence of interstellar communications via pulsed laser signals at near-infrared (900 – 1700 nm) wavelengths. The new instrument design builds upon our past optical SETI work, and is the first step toward a new, more versatile, and more sophisticated generation of very fast optical and near-infrared pulse search devices.

Dr. Wright will discuss the advantages of SETI searches at near-infared wavelengths. Dr. Wright will also present the instrument layout, including an overview of the opto-mechanical design, detector selection and characterization, signal processing, and integration procedure.

Finally, she will describe our initial observational setup and search strategies for SETI targets and other astronomical studies.