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We have performed calorimetric measurements on 200 nm thin silicon nitride membranes at temperatures from 0.07 to 1 K. Besides full windows, membranes cut into a thermally isolating suspended bridge geometry were investigated. Based on dc and ac measurements employing normal-metal/insulator/superconductor (NIS) tunnel junctions both as a thermometer and a heater, we report on heat transport and thermal relaxation in silicon nitride films. The bridge structure improves thermal isolation and, consequently, energy sensitivity by two orders of magnitude over those of the full membrane with the same size, and makes such a structure very attractive for bolometric and microrefrigeration applications. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.
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