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Superconducting detectors and mixers for millimeter and submillimeter astrophysics

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2 Author(s)
Zmuidzinas, Jonas ; Div. of Phys., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Richards, P.L.

Superconducting detectors will play an increasingly significant role in astrophysics, especially at millimeter through far-IR wavelengths, where the scientific opportunities include key problems in astronomy and cosmology. Superconducting detectors offer many benefits: outstanding sensitivity, lithographic fabrication, and large array sizes, especially through the recent development of multiplexing techniques. This paper describes the scientific opportunities, the basic physics of these devices, the techniques for radiation coupling, and reviews the recent progress in direct detectors, such as transition-edge bolometers, and the work on tunnel junction (superconductor-insulator-superconductor) and hot-electron mixers.

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Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:92 ,  Issue: 10 )