ISSTT Proceedings

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Development of Focal Plane Arrays Utilizing NbN Hot Electron Bolometric Mixers for the THz Regime

Authors:
E. Gerecht, C. F. Musante, Y. Zhuang, M. Ji, K. S. Yngvesson, T. Goyette, J. Waldman
Abstract:
Improvements in device development and quasi optical coupling techniques utilizing planar antennas have led to a significant achievement in low noise submillimeter wave receivers at progressively higher frequencies. Hot Electron Bolometric (HEB) receivers made of thin film superconducting films such as NbN have produced a viable option for instruments designed to measure the molecular spectra for astronomical applications as well as in remote sensing of the atmosphere. Total system DSB receiver temperatures of 500 K at 1.56 THz and 1,100 K at 2.24 THz were measured since the last STTSymposium. These results are 13 and 20 times the quantum noise limit at the respective frequency (the DSB quantum noise limit (hf/2k) is about 24 K at 1 THz) . Typical best performance for Schottky barrier mixers is about 100 to 200 times the quantum noise limit. The technology of NbN Hot Electron Bolometric (HEB) mixers is progressing from the one pixel plat form into a multipixel system and special considerations of the new requirements for such devices is emphasized. One important characteristic is the LO power consumption which is in the hundreds of nanowatts range and, there fore, makes NbN HEB mixers excellent devices to integrate with a number of promising power sources under development as well as available technologies. Furthermore, new developments are under way which will decrease the optical and microwave coupling loss further; in particular, improvement of the RF match of the device to the antenna, optimization of the input impedance of the IF amplifier, and further improvement of the NbN film active medium quality. Preliminary study of Mg0 substrates shows an improved IF band width. IF noise bandwidths in excess of 10 GHz are expected in the near future.
Categories:
Hot Electron Bolometers
Year:
2000
Session:
4
Full-text:
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Page Number(s):
209-218