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Title: Development of superconducting bolometer device technology for millimeter-wave cosmology instruments
Author: Otto, Ernst
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The Cold-Electron Bolometer (CEB) is a sensitive detector of millimeter-wave radiation, in which tunnel junctions are used as temperature sensors of a nanoscale normal metal strip absorber. The absorber is fed by an antenna via two Superconductor-Insulator-Normal metal (SIN) tunnel junctions, fabricated at both ends of the absorber. Incoming photons excite electrons, heating the whole electron system. The incoming RF power is determined by measuring the tunneling current through the SIN junctions. Since electrons at highest energy levels escape the absorber through the tunnel junctions, it causes cooling of the absorber. This electron cooling provides electro-thermal feedback that makes the saturation power of a CEB well above that of other types of millimeter-wave receivers. The key features of CEB detectors are high sensitivity, large dynamic range, fast response, easy integration in arrays on planar substrates, and simple readout. The high dynamic range allows the detector to operate under relatively high background levels. In this thesis, we present the development and successful operation of CEB, focusing on the fabrication technology and different implementations of the CEB for efficient detection of electromagnetic signals. We present the CEB detector integrated across a unilateral finline deposited on a planar substrate. We have measured the finline-integrated CEB performance at 280-315 mK using a calibrated black-body source mounted inside the cryostat. The results have demonstrated strong response to the incoming RF power and reasonable sensitivity. We also present CEB devices fabricated with advanced technologies and integrated in log-periodic, double-dipole and cross-slot antennas. The measured CEB performance satisfied the requirements of the balloon-borne experiment BOOMERANG and could be considered for future balloon-borne and ground-based instruments. In this thesis we also investigated a planar phase switch integrated in a back-to-back finline for modulating the polarization of weak electromagnetic signals. We examine the switching characteristics and demonstrate that the switching speed of the device is well above the speed required for phase modulation in astronomical instruments. We also investigated the combination of a detector and a superconducting phase switch for modulating the polarization of electromagnetic radiation.
Supervisor: Yassin, Ghassan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physical Sciences ; Nanomaterials ; Nanostructures ; Surface nanoscience ; Physics ; Astrophysics ; Advanced materials ; Cryogenic engineering ; Electrical engineering ; Electronics ; Optoelectronics ; Sensors ; quantum device physics ; device technology ; modelling ; microwave ; detectors ; microfabrication ; lithography ; millimeter-wave ; integrated circuit ; nanotechnology