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Title: A 230 GHz focal plane array using a wide IF bandwidth SIS receiver
Author: Garrett, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 7654
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Superconductor-Insulator-Superconductor (SIS) mixers offer the best noise properties of any heterodyne mixing technique at millimetre wavelengths. In astronomy, they are used for sensitive spectroscopy, which is vital for understanding the properties of the cold interstellar medium, including regions of star formation activity. Modern SIS receivers have noise properties that are ∼3 times the quantum limit, and it is now becoming increasingly difficult to lower the noise properties any further. In this thesis, I investigate two techniques that extend the capability of SIS receivers. The first technique is extending the instantaneous bandwidth of the receivers, i.e., the intermediate frequency bandwidth (IFBW). For spectral line sources, wide IFBW expands the survey depth to allow multiple emission lines to be observed simultaneously. Here, I present a new SIS mixer device at 230 GHz. The planar circuit was minimised to reduce any parasitic capacitances that may limit the IFBW. Experimentally, the device provides excellent noise temperatures down to 36 K and an IFBW extending from approximately 0-11 GHz. Simulation software was developed to better understand the performance of this device, and it suggests that the IFBW can be extended to higher frequencies if the IF measurement chain is upgraded. The second technique that I investigate is increasing the number of receivers in the focal plane of the receiver, i.e., adding more pixels. There are many challenges involved in this task including how to fit multiple receivers into a small space, how to properly cool the receiver, and how to deliver the local-oscillator signal. Here, I present a new 1 × 4 focal plane array. This array is acting as a demonstrator for a new array architecture that can be expanded into many more pixels in the future. It uses cascaded waveguide power splitters to divide the local-oscillator signal, and then waveguide directional couplers to combine the LO with the astronomical signals. Finally, I present CO(J=1→0) measurements from 34 galaxies in the 5MUSES survey. These measurements trace the amount of cold molecular gas present in these galaxies. By comparing these measurements to other metrics that trace star formation activity (e.g., infrared luminosity), I was able to form empirical relationships between the observed quantities. I also combined these results with other star formation studies from nearby and high redshift galaxies to form scaling relationships spanning a large fraction of cosmic time.
Supervisor: Yassin, Ghassan ; Jacobs, Karl ; Roche, Patrick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Astrophysics ; Star formation ; Millimetre-wave astronomy ; Focal plane array ; SIS mixer ; Instrumentation