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HYPRES is developing a prototype digital system comprising a Nb RSFQ analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and SiGe amplifiers on a commercial two-stage cryocooler. This involves the detailed thermal, electrical, and mechanical design of the ADC chip mount, input/output (I/O) cables, and electromagnetic shielding. Our objective is to minimize the heat load on the second (4 K) stage of the cryocooler, in order to ensure stable ADC operation. The design incorporates thermal radiation shields and magnetic shielding for the RSFQ circuit. For the I/O cables, the thermal design must be balanced against the acceptable attenuation of RF lines and resistance of DC bias lines. SiGe heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) signal conditioning circuits, placed on the first (60 K) stage of the cryocooler, will amplify the mV-level ADC outputs to V-level (e.g., ECL) outputs for seamless transition to room-temperature electronics. Cooling these HBT circuits lowers noise and improves their high-frequency performance. Demonstration of this prototype should lead the way to commercialization of high-speed digital superconducting systems, for such applications as wireless communication, radars, and switching networks.
Date of Publication: June 2003