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Reduced T(sub c) Niobium Superconducting HEB MixersA reduction in the mixer noise is expected when using superconductors with a lower transition temperature (T(sub c)) since the thermal noise components of the mixer noise should scale with T(sub c). Also, the local oscillator (LO) power required for a diffusion-cooled device should decrease as T(sub c) when T(sub bath) << T(sub c). We previously studied mixing in aluminum based hot-electron bolometers (HEBs) at microwave frequencies (approximately 30 GHz), and observed a significant improvement in noise performance, and a reduction in LO power as predicted. However, the bias voltage range over which good mixer performance was observed was approximately 5 - 10 microV. These devices are thus susceptible to saturation effects, in particular output saturation. In the present work, we have investigated Nb HEBs whose T(sub c) is lowered by applying a magnetic field. The goal is to study a case intermediate between Nb and Al, and hopefully to find properties that will allow use in practical receivers. A 15 kOe perpendicular magnetic field was applied to a Nb HEB (L = 0.16 micrometers, W = 0.08 micrometers, R(sub N) = 90 ohms) to reduce T(sub c) from 5.2 K to 2.4 K. The mixer noise, as inferred from the output noise and the conversion efficiency, decreased from 390 K, DSB to 171 K, DSB. The LO power required for near optimum mixer conversion efficiency (eta(sub mixer) = -9 dB in this device) was 8 nW in zero field, and approximately 2 nW when T(sub c) was reduced to 2.4 K. T(sub bath) = 0.22 K. The conversion bandwidth was previously measured to be 2.4 GHz and the same bandwidth was observed in the presence of a magnetic field. By lowering T(sub c), the voltage range over which good mixing was observed also decreased. However, even with T(sub c) reduced to 2.4 K, the conversion efficiency dropped by 3 dB from its maximum value only when the bias voltage was changed by approximately 90 microV. Saturation effects should thus be much less of a concern in these devices than in Al HEBS. In situations where the application of a large magnetic field is not feasible, we suggest using Ta based HEBS. Ta HEBs should have T(sub c) = 3 - 3.5 K and material properties very similar to Nb.
Document ID
20020038925
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Siddiqi, I.
(Yale Univ. New Haven, CT United States)
Prober, D. E.
(Yale Univ. New Haven, CT United States)
Bumble, B.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
LeDuc, H. G.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2001
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the Twenlfth International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology
Subject Category
Electronics And Electrical Engineering
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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