The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole used a specialized array of superconducting detectors to capture polarized light from billions of years ago.
The detector array is shown here, under a microscope. Techniques called micro-lithography and micro-machining are used to fabricate the devices.
This image shows one of the NASA detectors from the BICEP2 project, developed in collaboration with the National Science Foundation. The sensors were used to make the first detection of gravitational waves in the ancient background light from the early universe.