Skip to Main Content
We demonstrate that the performance of NbN lattice cooled hot electron bolometer mixers depends strongly on the interface quality between the bolometer and the contact structure. Both the receiver noise temperature and the gain bandwidth can be improved by a factor of 2 by cleaning the interface and adding an additional superconducting interlayer to the contact pad. Using this we obtain a double sideband receiver noise temperature of 950 K at 2.5 THz and 4.3 K, using a 0.4×4 μm HEB mixer with a spiral antenna. At the same bias point, we obtain an IF gain bandwidth of 6 GHz. To comply with current demands on THz mixers for use in space based receivers we reduce the device size to 0.15×1 μm and use a twin slot antenna. We report measurements of the noise temperature, LO power requirement, stability and the direct detection effect, using a mixer with a 1.6 THz twin slot antenna and a 1.462 THz solid state LO source with calibrated output power.