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Aluminum hot-electron bolometer mixers at submillimeter wavelengths

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7 Author(s)
Skalare, A. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; McGrath, William R. ; Echternach, P.M. ; Leduc, H.G.
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Diffusion-cooled aluminum hot-electron bolometer (HEB) mixers are of interest for low-noise high resolution THz-frequency spectroscopy within astrophysics. Al HEB mixers offer operation with an order of magnitude less local oscillator power, higher intermediate frequency bandwidth and potentially lower noise than competing devices made from other materials. We report on mixer experiments at 618 GHz with devices fabricated from films with sheet resistances in the range from about 55 Ω down to about 9 Ω per square. Intermediate frequency bandwidths of up to 3 GHz were measured (1 μm long device), with absorbed local oscillator power levels of 0.5 to 6 nW and mixer conversion up to -21.5 dB. High input coupling efficiency implies that the electrons in the device are able to thermalize before escaping from the device. It was found that the long coherence length complicates mixer operations due to the proximity of the contact pads. Also, saturation at the IF frequency may be a concern for this type of device, and warrants further studies

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Applied Superconductivity, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )