5.3 THz MgB2 hot electron bolometer mixer operated at 20 K

J.R. Gao, Y. Gan, B. Mirzaei, J. R.G. Silva, S. Cherednichenko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Heterodyne receivers combining a NbN HEB mixer with a local oscillator (LO) are the work horse for high resolution (≥106) spectroscopic observations at supra-terahertz frequencies. We report an MgB2 HEB mixer working at 5.3 THz with
20 K operation temperature based on a previously published paper [Y. Gan et al, Appl. Phys. Lett., 119, 202601 (2021)]. The HEB consists of a 7 nm thick MgB2 submicron-bridge contacted with a spiral antenna. It has a Tc of 38.4 K. By using hot/cold blackbody loads and a Mylar beam splitter all in vacuum, and applying a 5.25 THz FIR gas laser as the LO, we measured a minimal DSB receiver noise temperature of 3960 K. The latter gives a DSB mixer noise temperature of 1470 K. This sensitivity is 28 times better than a room temperature Schottky mixer at 4.7 THz, but about 2.5 times less sensitive than an NbN HEB mixer. The latter must be operated around 4 K. The IF noise bandwidth is about 10 GHz, which is 2.5-3 times larger than an NbN HEB. With further optimization, such MgB2 HEBs are expected to reach a better sensitivity. That the low noise, wide IF bandwidth MgB2 HEB mixers can be operated in a compact, low dissipation 20 K Stirling cooler can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of heterodyne instruments and therefore facilitate new space missions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMillimeter, Submillimeter, and Far-Infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy XI
EditorsJonas Zmuidzinas, Jian-Rong Gao
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781510653610
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventSPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2022 - Montréal, Canada
Duration: 17 Jul 202222 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2022


  • Hot electron bolometer
  • mixer
  • THz
  • MgB2
  • superconductor
  • high Tc
  • IF bandwidth
  • space instrumentation


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